Identifying Gender Bias in College Culture: Descriptive and Prescriptive Stereotypes, Hostile and Benevolent Sexism, and Cognitive Justification
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The concept of equality between men and women is a controversial and important subject for continued business and psychological research. This study aimed to gain greater insight into gender bias by surveying college students. Sexism has been thought to be manifested in two ways: hostile or benevolent. Hostile sexism pertains to overt discrimination against women for their sex. Benevolent sexism places females in a restrictive role like hostile sexism, but it does so in a nicer tone. Accordingly, some may not even recognize benevolent sexism to be an issue at all. Bias has also been thought to be manifested in a descriptive or prescriptive way. Descriptive bias assesses what people think women currently are like. On the other hand, prescriptive bias assesses how people believe women should be like. Constructs were used to assess hostile or benevolent sexism and descriptive or prescriptive bias, which have all been used in previously published research. Additional items were developed by the researcher to assess the possibility of stereotyping being followed up with rationalization. Results indicated that there was a difference in gender attitudes between men and women. Specifically, males displayed higher sexism overall and were more likely to associate benevolent sexism with hostile sexism than females were. The item developed by the researcher for the purposes of examining a potential rationalization for stereotyping exhibited a greater correlation for females pertaining to descriptive bias. Practical and theoretical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.