Show Less
Restricted access

Gender at Work

A Social Psychological Perspective


Melanie C. Steffens and Ma. Àngels Viladot

While many women receive equal education, such equality is nowhere in sight when it comes to women’s and men’s career success: men still earn significantly more than women and are more likely to be promoted. In this book, the authors offer a state of the art review of applied social-psychological research on gender at work, shedding light on all the different ways that work-related perceptions, attributions, outcomes, and the like differ for women and men. Focusing on domains (e.g., engineering) and positions (e.g., leadership) that are marked by women’s underrepresentation, the first part of the book looks at gender at work in terms of stereotypes, attitudes, and social roles, including parenthood, while the second part takes a social identity and communication perspective, exploring the situations in which men and women interact at work. Many chapters focus on applied questions, such as career choice, effects of role models, and sexual harassment at work. Theories and findings are applied to these topics, with conclusions and recommendations drawn throughout the book.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access


← 240 | 241 → EPILOGUE


The aim of this book was to shed light on the question of why there is no gender equality at the workplace, also taking into account that the secondary and postsecondary education of women is equal to that of men. More specifically, our goal was to analyze the factors and mechanisms that lead to women’s discrimination regarding their careers.

Together, the two parts of this volume cover the major aspects and approaches of research in this area from the point of view of social psychology and communication. We concluded Part I with the metaphor of a “hurdles woman,” a struggle in which a woman has to jump many hurdles to succeed. To reiterate, gender stereotypes play a chief role among the hurdles that impede women’s success in counterstereotypic tasks or jobs (including leadership positions): Parents, teachers, and peers expect different behavior from girls than from boys. As one consequence, they will explain girls’ and boys’ successes differently (e.g., as evidence of talent vs. effort). Additionally, girls’ and boys’ self-concepts of ability tend to be tainted by these stereotypes. For example, due to gender stereotypes, boys are more likely to come to believe in their math talent than girls, given equal individual talent. The stereotype-threat phenomenon shows that stereotypes may become what is known as ← 241 | 242 → “self-fulfilling prophecies”: Because a stereotype exists, respective differences in performance will occur.

There are two further insidious aspects of such gender stereotypes. First, there is an implicit, automatized component to...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.