Journal article

Beyond Mars and Venus: The role of gender essentialism in support for gender inequality and backlash

Lea Skewes, Cordelia Fine, Nick Haslam



It has been argued that gender essentialism impedes progress towards greater gender equality. Here we present a new gender essentialism scale (GES), and validate it in two large nationally representative samples from Denmark and Australia. In both samples the GES was highly reliable and predicted lack of support for sex-role egalitarianism and support for gender discrimination, as well as perceived fairness of gender-based treatment in the Australian sample, independently of two established predictors (i.e., social dominance orientation and conservative political orientation). In addition, gender essentialism assessed by the GES moderated some manifestations of the backlash effect: high esse..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

Lea Skewes was supported by an Inge Lehmann Scholarship at The Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters and also received financial support from the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University. Cordelia Fine was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT110100658) and a Women's Leadership Institute Australia Research Fellowship.Many thanks to Michelle Stratemeyer for her assistance with data analysis. The authors also thank Victoria Brescoll and Thomas Morton for generously sharing their experimental materials with us. The Sex-Role Egalitarianism Scale was translated by the first author under license from SIGMA Assessment Systems, Inc. Cordelia Fine thanks the Women's Leadership Institute Australia for their support and prior funding from the Australian Research Council (FT110100658). Lea Skewes is grateful for the support of an Inge Lehmann Scholarship awarded by the Royal Danish Academy of Science & Letters.