Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 6: Gender stereotypes and their implications for women’s career progress
Despite social advances in the workplace, disparities in pay, opportunity and status continue to exist between male and female employees. Today, women in the United States earn 81 cents to men’s dollar (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012), comprise only a small percentage of top managers(Catalyst, 2012), and remain underrepresented in traditionally male occupations and fields (Gabriel and Schmitz, 2007). In this chapter we discuss the ways in which gender stereotypes contribute to this continuing discrepancy. We review research demonstrating how gender stereotypes can produce biased evaluations and outline the conditions under which they are likely to hinder women’s career progress. To study the effects of gender stereotypes, it is important to understand their content. In the past decades researchers have identified the attributes that are used to describe men and women (Broverman et al., 1972; Diekman and Eagly, 2000), and subsequent inquiries suggest that these conceptions still exist today (Schein, 2001). Broadly, gender stereotypes designate that men are agentic: they are thought to be aggressive, ambitious, dominant and task-oriented. In contrast, women are thought to be communal: they are seen as kind, sympathetic, interpersonally sensitive and people-oriented.
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