Scholarly article on topic 'Stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed occupations and the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in Iranian students'

Stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed occupations and the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in Iranian students Academic research paper on "Sociology"

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{"sex role-typed occupations" / "stereotypical beliefs" / "counterstereotypic examples" / "Iranian students"}

Abstract of research paper on Sociology, author of scientific article — Fatemeh Hamzavi Abedi, Fateme Noorbala, Zoha Saeedi

Abstract This study examined the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in decreasing implicit stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed jobs. One hundred and eighteen students (64 women and 54 men) in University of Tehran participated in two experiments voluntarily. Implicit stereotypical beliefs were measured by Implicit Associative Test (IAT). Participants were exposed with stereotypic (control group) and counterstereotypic (experiment group) examples. The same IAT program was used afterward in each group. Our result in first experiment is consistent with previous studies. Our second experiment's failure in producing a significant reduction in implicit stereotypes can be explained in different terms.

Academic research paper on topic "Stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed occupations and the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in Iranian students"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 5 (2010) 1425-1428

WCPCG-2010

Stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed occupations and the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in

Iranian students

Fatemeh Hamzavi Abedi\*, Fateme Noorbalab, Zoha Saeedic

aM.A student in University of Tehran, No.41,Block 2 ,Pasargad complex, Saadat Abad, Tehran, 1981818181, Iran bM.A student in Allame Tabatabai University, No. 12, salma Alley, Doulat St, Tehran, 1944683753, Iran cM.A student in University of Tehran, No. 55, Sedaghat Alley, Valiasr st, Tehran, 1967734983

Received January 6, 2010; revised February 9, 2010; accepted March 25, 2010

Abstract

This study examined the mediating effect of exposure to counterstereotypic examples in decreasing implicit stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed jobs.

One hundred and eighteen students (64 women and 54 men) in University of Tehran participated in two experiments voluntarily. Implicit stereotypical beliefs were measured by Implicit Associative Test (IAT). Participants were exposed with stereotypic (control group) and counterstereotypic (experiment group) examples. The same IAT program was used afterward in each group. Our result in first experiment is consistent with previous studies. Our second experiment's failure in producing a significant reduction in implicit stereotypes can be explained in different terms. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: sex role-typed occupations; stereotypical beliefs; counterstereotypic examples; Iranian students

1. Introduction

Scholars have long argued that the division of labor between the sexes, a very important feature of social structure, is the main cause of the subordination of women (Cejka and Eagly, 1999). Even though sex segregation of occupations is a universal fact (Davis, Spencer, Quinn, and Gerhardstein, 2002), there are huge cross national variations. The 2009 report of world economic forum of "The gender gap index" has ranked Iran 128 out of 134 regarding to economic participation and opportunity, measured by earnings, participation level and availability of high skill jobs ("The global gender gap report", 2009).

Different explanations have been proposed for the maintenance of gender segregation in labor market, including the fulfillment of gender stereotypes (Born et al.; Huffman, as cited in Korupp, Sanders, Ganzeboom, 2002), family obligations restricting women's potentials (Jacobs, as cited in Korupp et al., 2002), and educational specialization at

* Fatemeh Hamzavi Abedi. Tel.: +982122130153. E-mail address: fateme.hamzavy@gmail.com.

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.07.300

school (Tijdens; Van Mourik and Siegers, as cited in Korupp et al.. 2002). Eagly's Social Role Theory (1987, cited by Cejka, and Eagly, 1999) imply a reciprocal causal link between the gender segregation of occupations and gender stereotypes. Eagly argues that "People derive their images of women and men from observing their sex-typical work". On the other hand, gender stereotypes of sex-typical occupations would encourage gender segregation of employment in return (Cejka, and Eagly, 1999). Considering the significant relationship between stereotypes and discriminative behavior it is not surprising that decrease and deactivation of stereotypical thinking has been a hot topic in social psychology for many years. In fact, some scientists believe that the best way for reduction of discrimination is decrease of stereotypical thinking (Deaux and La France, as cited by Kawakami, Dovidio, and Van Kamp, 2005).

There are a considerable number of interventions designed to alleviate stereotypical thinking. Promotion of interpersonal contact among reference and target group and promotion of cognitive consistency between general egalitarian values attitudes toward specific groups are among classic approaches (Dasgupta and Greenwald, 2001). More recent approaches are based on cumulative evidences showing that automatic stereotypes are affected by, 1) self and social motivation, 2) specific strategies aimed to counterstereotypes, 3) focus of attention, 4) social context or configuration of stimulus cues, and 5) characteristics of individual category members ( for a complete review, see Blair, 2002).

In this research, we are focused on interventions based on changing the social context in order to alleviate implicit stereotypes. The strategy used in this approach is making counterstereotypical examples more accessible. We wanted to know whether exposure to women's activity in a masculine job can moderate participants' stereotypical beliefs about sex role-typed occupations. Experiment 1

2. Method

2.1. Participants

Sixty one students (32 women and 29 men) at the University of Tehran participated in the experiment voluntarily (mean age = 22.4, standard deviation= 2.13).

Materials

Exemplars. Two novel-like descriptions were written, one picturing a usual day of a counter stereotypic woman (i.e a factory engineer) for experimental group and the other showing a stereotypic woman (i.e a housekeeper) for control group. Both texts were around 1000 word and equal number of dictation errors was made in them.

Automatic Attitude Measure. Automatic attitudes were measured by Implicit Association Test (IAT; hGreenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). In this task, gender groups were represented by 9 female and 9 male names and job groups were represented by two group of A (for stereotypically feminine jobs) and B (for stereotypically masculine jobs) which were produced by a pilot survey on a sample of 93 students.

Providing Materials. An initial survey provided the material for job stimuli lists. Ninety three students categorized 45 job into masculine, feminine or androgen jobs. A chi square test identified items scored significantly higher on masculine or feminine category. This procedure yielded 9 feminine jobs (including nurse and librarian) and 19 masculine jobs (including manager, professor, and mechanic). From these 19 masculine jobs, 9 were selected on the basis of maximum difference between masculine and feminine scores. Gender stimuli list was selected among popular Iranian names that were similar in their length.

2.2. Procedure

Participants were assigned randomly to experimental and control groups. They were told that they are participating in an experiment about cognitive processes which is made from two phase. In the first phase they should find and modify dictation errors in a text. In the second phase they should first memorize two lists of jobs and then participate in a categorization task on a computer, which was the IAT task indeed. This cover story was employed in order to hide our intentions in affecting participants' beliefs about stereotypical roles of women. The experiment was done in the psychology laboratory and participation was one by one. After the completion of task, experimenters thanked and debriefed participants.

2. Results

IAT effects, were computed by subtracting the mean latency for female names + Group A of jobs (stereotypical feminine jobs) and male names + Group B of jobs(stereotypical masculine jobs) which construct our stereotypically compatible match from the mean latency for female names + Group B of jobs and male names + Group A of jobs which constructs stereotypically incompatible match . Positive scores indicate stronger association of Group A of jobs with femininity and Group B of jobs with masculinity. Although participants didn't know that jobs are divided by their relation to sex roles and the whole experiment was introduced as an indicator of memory reaction time, results revealed that mean latency for stereotypically compatible match (mean= 1099.16, std. deviation=325.98) was significantly lower than incompatible one (mean= 1594.16, std. deviation=374.62) , paired sample t-test =15.08, p=0.00. Further analysis showed that female participants had significantly higher IAT effect and though more sex role-typed thinking of occupations (t=2.07, p=0.04).

Considering the intervention effect, the mean IAT effect for experiment group was 565.60ms (std. deviation= 256.90) and the mean IAT effect for control group was 434.78 ms (std. deviation= 236.06). Then, we compared the IAT effect in experiment and control group with independent-samples t test. The result showed that the difference between experiment and control group in IAT effect was significant with 95% confidence (t=2.07, p=0.04).

Experiment 2 3. Method

2.1. Participant

Fifty seven students (32 women and 25 men) at the University of Tehran participated in the experiment voluntarily (mean age = 21.18, standard deviation= 1.93).

Materials

Exemplars. Two five minute pieces of film were selected from a comedy-dram Iranian movie named "wrong women". In this movie the same actress plays two different roles; one, a homemaker with two little children and second, the manager of a building construction company. This film was selected trough 3 criteria, showing a woman working in a male-typed job, picturing her in that job at least for 5 minute and showing the same woman doing housework for at least 5 minutes.

Automatic Attitude measure. The same IAT program was used in this experiment.

Procedure

Participants were assigned randomly to one experimental and two control groups. The instruction was the same as first experiment. All participants first memorized the job list. Then experimental group watched the piece of film which pictured the actress in her building construction company. The first control group watched the piece of film in which the actress was involved in housework. The second control group watched nothing. After this, all the participants completed the IAT task.

4. Results

Data were prepared for analysis similar to what was explained in the first experiment. Again mean latency for stereotypically compatible match (mean=1219.09 and std. deviation=322.31) and incompatible one (mean=1608.49 and std. deviation=329.60) was compared and a significant difference was found (paired sample t-test =11.07, p=0.00). However, no significant gender difference was observed (t=0.136, p=0.89). The mean IAT effect for experiment group was 347.28ms (std. deviation= 219.79), the mean IAT effect for first control group was 326.61 ms (std. deviation= 200.36) and the mean IAT effect for second control group was 488.79 ms (std. deviation= 323.22) Then, we compared the IAT effect in experiment and control groups with one-way analysis of variance. The result showed that the difference between experiment and control groups in IAT effect was not significant with 95% confidence (F (2, 54) = 2.23, p= 0.11).

5. Discussion

With longstanding segregation of jobs between men and women, it is not surprising that there is a strong mental association between gender and different types of occupations. Our results, too, indicated a noticeable implicit sextyping of occupations (Cohen's d for both experiments' participants= 1.26). However, as previous researches have shown, implicit stereotypes can be modified by changing the social context. In two experiments, we exposed participants with women in stereotypic and counterstereotypic jobs in order to evaluate the change in their implicit stereotypes across these two conditions. In the first experiment, reading an explanation of a daily work of an engineer woman versus a homemaker was able to produce a significant decrease in automatically associating women with female typed occupations. Our second experiment, however, failed to produce a significant change in implicit stereotypes. These results partially supported our primary assumptions.

Our results in first experiment is consistent with previous studies that have explored the malleability of automatic stereotypes by different techniques of reminding them of counterstereotypic examples (Dasgupta and Greenwald, 2001; Blair, Ma and Lenton, 2001).

Our second experiment's failure in producing a significant reduction in implicit stereotypes can be explained in different terms. In order to understand result better we did some extra analyses. Although there was no significant difference between experiment and control 1 group, if we combine these two groups and compare them with control 2 group, there was a significant difference in their mean latencies (t=2.18, p=0.04). This result, make us to ask ourselves whether just watching a woman as a first personage of a film can mediate different implicit stereotypes related to gender, even if the film has no implication for the specific stereotype used. Of course this assumption needs further investigation, but if true it can have important implications.

References

Blair, I. (2002). The Malleability of Automatic Stereotypes and Prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Review, Vol. 6, No. 3, 242-261. Blair, I., Ma, J., & Lenton, A., (2001). Imagining stereotypes away: The moderation of implicit stereotypes through mental imagery. Journal of

Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 81, No. 5, 828-841. 0bCejka, M. A. & Eagly, A. H. (1999). Gender-Stereotypic Images of Occupations Correspond to the Sex Segregation of Employment. Personality

and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 4, 413-423. Dasgupta, N., & Greenwald, A. (2001). On the malleability of automatic attitudes: Combating automatic prejudice with images of admired and

disliked individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 81, No. 5, 800-814. Davies, P. G., Spencer, S. J., Quinn, D. M., & Gerhardstein, R. (2002). All consuming images: How demeaning commercials that elicit stereotype

threat can restrain women academically and professionally. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1615-1628. hGreenwald, A., McGhee, D., & Schwartz, J. (1998h). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test.

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hiring decisions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,, .Vol. 41, No. 1,, 68-75. Korupp, S. E., Sanders, K., & Ganzeboom, H. B. (2002). The Intergenerational Transmission of Occupational Status and Sex-Typing at

Children's Labour Market Entry. European Journal of Women's Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, 7-29. The global gender gap report. (2009, October 27). Retrieved February 20, 2010, from world economic forum official site, website: ■http://www.weforum.org/en/Communities/Women%20Leaders%20and%20Gender%20Parity/GenderGapNetwork/index.htm