Sexism and Higher Pay Packets
A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida found that having sexist views can be linked with a higher salary
The researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative study of men and women who were interviewed four times between 1979 and 2005. A total of 12,686 people, ages 14 to 22 at the beginning of the study, participated; there was a 60 percent retention rate over the course of the study.
At each of the four interviews, participants were asked about their views on gender roles in the work force and at home. They answered questions such as whether they believed a woman’s place is in the home, whether employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, if a man should be breadwinner, and if it was a woman’s responsibility to take care of the household and familiy. Participants were also asked about their earnings, religious upbringing, education, whether they worked outside the home and their marital status, in addition to other topics.
The researchers looked specifically at gender role views as a predictor of a person’s earnings. They controlled for job complexity, number of hours worked and education.
Their analyses showed that men in the study who said they had more traditional gender role attitudes made an average of about $8,500 more annually than those who had less traditional attitudes.
There is no gender equality, however, amongst those who held traditional gender role attitudes. Women who held more traditional views about gender roles made an average of $1,500 less annually than the women with more egalitarian views. This means that if a married couple holds traditional gender role attitudes, the husband’s earning advantage was predicted to be eight times greater than a married couple where the husband and wife have more egalitarian attitudes.
The author, Dr. Judge, concludes that :
“These results show that changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity. When workers’ attitudes become more traditional, women’s earnings relative to men suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears.”
The results also did not change when other factors were controlled, such as industry, occupation, hours worked, and number of children. So even for ‘traditional’ women who do work outside the home, they are paid less than traditional men for comparable work.
Reasons for Traditional Views
The researchers also sought to understand why some people hold more traditional or less traditional perceptions of gender roles. Some associations they found were:
- People living in Northeastern cities had less traditional views regarding gender roles
- People whose parents both worked outside the home had less traditional views regarding gender roles
- Married, religious people tended to have more traditional gender role views
- Younger people had less traditional views but became more traditional over time
The researchers believe their results show that the gender pay gap is not just an economic phenomenon:
“Psychology has an important role to play, too. … policies have been leaning toward gender equality for decades now. But, according to our study, traditional gender role views continue to work against this goal.”