Cross-cultural variations of gender rules: how women and men should (not) be in India, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the U.S.

Nater, Christa
Senden Gustafsson, Marie
Lohmore, Akanksha
Rudman, Laurie
Sakallı, Nuray
Sczesny, Sabine
Gender inequality is an ongoing problem in social life and remains a crucial issue for many societies (e.g., the United Nations’ HeForShe Programme, 2016, One mechanism that may contribute to the persistence of gender inequality is gender stereotyping, that is, the specific beliefs people hold about the characteristics that women and men are likely to possess or to lack. Proscriptive traits for women (e.g., dominance and arrogance) challenge the status hierarchy and thus trigger harsh sanctions (Rudman, Moss-Racusin, Glick, & Phelan, 2012). In our study we investigated violations of proscriptive gender norms cross-culturally to gain first knowledge on how such violations contribute to the maintenance of gender stereotypes. The online study was based on a 2 (Target gender: Female, male) x 5 (Country: India, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, U.S.) between-subjects design. We asked four groups of participants to indicate how common and typical [descriptions] or how desirable [prescriptions] 120 characteristics were in women [or men] in their society. To assess the status typicality of these features, we asked two groups of participants to indicate how common and typical the 120 characteristics were in persons with high [or low] status (for details see Rudman et al., 2012). The sample consisted of about 2,000 participants (data collection ongoing). Preliminary results revealed that the higher the achieved gender equality in a country, the less traditional the descriptions and prescriptions of agency and communion for women and men, and the less similar the judgments for men and high-status people on the one hand as well as women and low-status people on the other. Moreover, proscriptive aspects of gender stereotypes in particular were found to reflect cultural variation in gender equality due to their correlation with status.


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Citation Formats
C. Nater, M. Senden Gustafsson, A. Lohmore, L. Rudman, N. Sakallı, and S. Sczesny, “Cross-cultural variations of gender rules: how women and men should (not) be in India, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the U.S.,” presented at the EASP SPSP Meeting, (24 - 26 Haziran 2017), Berlin, Almanya, 2017, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: