Help to perpetuate traditional gender roles: Benevolent sexism increases engagement in dependency-oriented cross-gender helping

Nurit Shnabel, Yoav Bar-Anan, Anna Kende, Orly Bareket, Yael Lazar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on theorizing that helping relations may serve as a subtle mechanism to reinforce intergroup inequality, the present research (N = 1,315) examined the relation between benevolent sexism (i.e., a chivalrous yet subtly oppressive view of women) and helping. In cross-gender interactions, the endorsement of (Studies 1, 3, and 4) or exposure to (Study 2) benevolent sexism predicted (a) men's preference to provide women with dependency-oriented help (i.e., direct assistance) rather than tools for autonomous coping, and (b) women's preference to seek dependency-oriented help rather than tools for autonomous coping. Benevolent sexism did not predict men's and women's engagement in dependency-oriented helping relations in same-gender interactions. Studies 1 and 2 examined behavioral intentions in response to a series of hypothetical scenarios; Studies 3 and 4 examined actual behavior in tests of mathematical and logical ability, and pointed to assumed partner's expectations as a potential mediator. The converging evidence supports the hypothesis that benevolent sexism encourages engagement in cross-gender helping relations that perpetuate traditional gender roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-75
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume110
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Benevolent sexism
  • Dependency-oriented help
  • Helping relations
  • Traditional gender roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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