Change in gender stereotypes over time: What does U.S. public opinion poll data say?

Nater, Christa (6 December 2021). Change in gender stereotypes over time: What does U.S. public opinion poll data say? (Unpublished). In: Annual UBC Postdoctoral Research Conference. Vancouver, Canada. 06.12.2021.

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Gender relations have substantially changed over time: Unlike decades ago, women now earn more master’s and doctoral degrees than men and have entered the workforce to become leaders and engineers. In this talk, I will present our meta-analytical research on whether gender stereotypes have changed in line with changes in women’s and men’s social roles over time (Eagly, Nater, et al., 2020). Public opinion poll data with representative samples including over 30,000 U.S. adults from 1940 to 2018 showed that people’s stereotypic beliefs about the typical attributes of women and men remain as strong as before. While for perceived competence, most people now report that women and men are equal in their overall competence, beliefs about personality are quite different and equality does not prevail. Beliefs that women are the more communal sex and men are the more agentic sex are present and have not eroded since the 1940s. These findings challenge conventional wisdom that social change should cause people to believe in gender similarity in all human traits. Instead, communal stereotypes have actually become more extreme over time in portraying women as more compassionate, affectionate, and sensitive than men. Men are still viewed as more ambitious, aggressive, and decisive than women, and this stereotype has not changed much since the 1940s. Ultimately, this research aims to advance the understanding of persisting gender segregation and bias in workplace settings to yield insight for the design of science-driven interventions and for policy-making in order to overcome it.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Nater, Christa


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Christa Nater

Date Deposited:

28 Apr 2022 11:54

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:13


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