Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People in jobs traditionally held by the other sex are judged more harshly for mistakes

Date:
December 8, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
In these modern times, people can have jobs that weren't traditionally associated with their genders. Men are nurses; women are CEOs. A new study examines perceptions of people in high-powered jobs and finds that they're likely to be judged more harshly for mistakes if they're in a job that's not normally associated with their gender.

In these modern times, people can have jobs that weren't traditionally associated with their genders. Men are nurses; women are CEOs. A new study examines perceptions of people in high-powered jobs and finds that they're likely to be judged more harshly for mistakes if they're in a job that's not normally associated with their gender.

Related Articles


"The reason I got interested is, there was so much talk about race and gender barriers being broken," says Victoria Brescoll, a psychological scientist at Yale University and first author of the study. In the 2008 presidential election, a woman came close to getting a nomination, and an African-American man ended up president of the United States -- a job formerly reserved for white men.

But just getting a job with high status isn't enough, Brescoll says; you have to keep it. She suspected that people who have a job not normally associated with their gender would be under closer scrutiny and more likely to get in trouble for mistakes. "Any mistakes that they make, even very minor ones, could be magnified and seen as even greater mistakes," she says.

Brescoll and her colleagues, Erica Dawson and Eric Luis Uhlmann, came up with a list of high-status jobs that are normally held by one gender or the other. This was easy for men, but actually quite difficult for women; the one they came up with was the president of a woman's college. For this study, they compared that to a police chief, a traditionally male role. They pre-tested the jobs to make sure people perceived them as having similar status and also being associated with one gender or the other.

About 200 volunteers read a scenario in which either a police chief or a women's college president made a mistake, sending not enough police officers (or campus security officers) to respond to a protest. The gender of the police chief or college president varied; different people read different texts. Then they were asked how they judged the person who made the mistake.

People who were the non-stereotypical gender were judged more harshly; the volunteers saw them as less competent and deserving of less status. The same was true in other tests with a female CEO of an aerospace engineering firm and a chief judge. The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"There is an effect called the glass cliff," Brescoll says. Like the glass ceiling that keeps women from rising higher, the glass cliff is what counter-stereotypical individuals (such as female police chiefs) are in danger of falling from. "You don't really know, when you're a woman in a high status leadership role, how long you're going to hang onto it," she says. "You might just fall off at any point. Our study points to one way that this may happen for women in high-powered male roles."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Victoria Brescoll et al. Hard Won and Easily Lost: The Fragile Status of Leaders in Gender-Stereotype-Incongruent Occupations. Psychological Science, (in press)

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "People in jobs traditionally held by the other sex are judged more harshly for mistakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207121444.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, December 8). People in jobs traditionally held by the other sex are judged more harshly for mistakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207121444.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "People in jobs traditionally held by the other sex are judged more harshly for mistakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207121444.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins