We take two steps forward and two steps back?

Topic(s): diversity

Topic: Diversity
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Is the Gap More Than Gender? A Longitudinal Analysis of Gender, Gender Role Orientation, and Earnings.
Author: T.A. Judge, B.A. Livingston
Featured by: Rob Stilson

The purpose of this study was to look at gender, gender role orientation, and earnings.  Participants for this study have been studied to death. They come from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), which I will let you find out about on your own.  Long story short, these individuals have been assessed four times from 1979 until 2004. For this study, the authors were interested in the participants’ demographics, answers on a gender role orientation scale (5 items) and their occupations.  What we learned from this is rather interesting.

Gender role orientation is how you feel about the proper roles for men and women at home and in the work place. There are the traditional roles of the woman taking care of the family and the man serving as the main breadwinner. The authors were curious as to what effect endorsing or shying away from these traditional roles would have on career earnings.  I will just hit the highlights here and won’t go into all of the areas assessed (the authors’ pictures appear under the definition for “thorough” in the dictionary).

Big findings include men who endorse traditional gender roles out-earn men who deviate from traditional roles. This made me scratch my head, because generally, the more educated you are, the more you earn. This study found that more educated men are less likely to endorse traditional gender roles.

The authors posit that men who are more traditional are rewarded monetarily for keeping the social order. For women, those who endorsed the traditional gender roles made less than those who deviated from tradition. Another factor the authors mention that could be driving this is the self-fulfilling prophecy. Here, men who are traditional see themselves as the main bread winners and therefore go out and do it. Women in the workplace who see themselves as deviated from the norm are more likely to go after big income possibilities.

So, in conclusion, we still have a long way to go. This research indicated that over time, men are deviating more and more from the traditional gender roles set in place, oh, about 100,000 years ago, but we still have a ways to go.

What I have discussed here is absolutely just the tip of the iceberg of what is contained in this article. One area the authors point out that is ripe for research is international and cross-cultural comparisons.

Judge, T. A., and Livingston, B. A. (2008) Is the Gap More Than Gender? A Longitudinal Analysis of Gender, Gender Role Orientation, and Earnings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(5), 994-1012.