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Men's feminization and gender equality

English title Men's feminization and gender equality
Applicant Falomir Pichastor Juan Manuel
Number 176080
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Faculté de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Education Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2020
Approved amount 500'727.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Psychology
Applied psychology

Keywords (7)

Sexism; Social influence; Gender-based discrimination; Family-Work balance; Carrier aspirations; Masculinity; Gender equality

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les inégalités entre hommes et femmes demeurent parmi les problèmes les plus importants rencontrés par les sociétés occidentales. Cette inégalité est fortement liée à l'affirmation de l'identité de genre sur la base de rôles et de normes très spécifiques et différenciés. Cela dit, depuis quelques décennies ces rôles et normes de genre sont en train de changer dans nos sociétés occidentales. Si les femmes semblent s'accommoder de ces changements, ce n'est pas nécessairement le cas pour les hommes. Néanmoins, il semble que ces changements impliquent une certaine "féminisation de l'homme", et les conséquences d'une telle évolution sont encore mal connues.
Lay summary

Dans ce projet de recherche, nous nous intéressons donc aux conséquences sociales d'une telle féminisation des hommes, et nous étudions ses conséquences au niveau de leurs choix de vie personnels (choix de carrière, vie de famille), de leurs rapports aux autres hommes (en particulier à ceux qui dévient des normes traditionnelles de genre), et de leurs rapports aux femmes en général (sexisme, discrimination, égalité de genre). Plus spécifiquement nous examinons si l’éventuelle féminisation de l’homme peut conduire les hommes à remettre en question ou à renforcer le statu quo et les inégalités de genre.
Les résultats de nos recherches permettront ainsi de mieux comprendre les sources d'une potentielle résistance au changement social, et ouvriront des pistes d'action pour l'inclusion des hommes dans la marche vers l'égalité de genre et la réduction des discriminations.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.11.2017

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Gender inequalities remain one of the most important problems faced by Western Societies, and they are strongly tied to men and women's affirmation of their gender identity. During the past decades, however, gender roles and norms in society have slightly changed. While the consequences of these changes have attracted researchers attention, most of this research has focused on women. Put differently, no previous research has directly investigated the consequences of these changes (namely, the relative feminization of men as a group) on men's attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the maintenance of traditional gender roles, gender inequality, and gender based discrimination.
Lay summary

The present project aims at filling this gap and addressing this issue at three levels: the intrapersonal level (i.e., men's attitude toward career aspirations, work-family balance, and investment in the household), the intragroup level (i.e., men's attitude towards other men who behave in a counter-stereotypic way and question the status quo), and the intergroup level (i.e., men's discrimination towards women in general, and on the work market). We generally contend that such feminization may either lead men to challenge or reinforce the status quo and gender inequalities, depending on their motivation to uphold the antifemininity norm of masculinity.

As such, this project has both scientific and practical relevance. On a theoretical level, it will first increase our understanding of the barriers preventing men to challenge the status quo and reduce gender inequalities. Second, this project will increase our knowledge about men's reaction to changing gender norms, and about the situations in which men will conform or resist these changes. Finally, it will also highlight the importance of men's reaction to such changes at three different levels (personal, intragroup, and intergroup). Practically speaking, this project widens our knowledge about these societal issues, and provides insights for developing efficient ways to increase men's engagement in gender equality. Further, these findings may prove useful to policy makers, practitioners, teachers and counselors working in the field to change men's career aspirations, their interest in work-family balance, their attitudes towards non-traditional men, their sexist tendencies and gender-based discriminations in the workplace.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.11.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Abstract

The gendered division of labor and the gender inequalities that ensue thereof remain some of the most important problems faced by Western Societies. A large body of research has documented that the status quo regarding such issues is strongly tied to men and women's affirmation of their gender identity. Such affirmation is done through the endorsement of traditional gender roles, according to which men are agentic and tend to occupy high-status social roles, while women are communal and tend to occupy low-status roles. Feminism has challenged this status quo by questioning traditional gender roles and calling for structural and political changes aimed at reducing gender inequalities. As a result, society has changed to some extent, as indicated by the fact that women appear to be more 'masculine' than ever before (e.g., they are more agentic and occupy more high-status positions). Interestingly, changes are slower among men (who tend to conform more rigidly to traditional roles), but significant changes have also been documented and suggest that men are now more "feminine" than ever before. That said, research investigating the consequences of these changes has mainly focused on women, and more particularly on individual and contextual barriers preventing women to occupy traditionally masculine roles in the labor-market. It is only recently that researchers called for a closer examination of the reasons for which men do not follow the current societal changes, and of the potentially negative consequences men face when engaging in feminine roles and occupations. Furthermore no previous research has directly investigated the consequences of men's feminization as a group on men's attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the maintenance of traditional gender roles, gender inequality, and gender based discrimination. The present project aims at filling this gap and addressing this issue at three levels: the intrapersonal level (i.e., men's attitude toward career aspirations, work-family balance, and investment in the household), the intragroup level (i.e., men's attitude towards other men who behave in a counter-stereotypic way and question the status quo), and the intergroup level (i.e., men's discrimination towards women in general, and on the work market). We contend that men's feminization challenges the traditional and hegemonic antifemininity norm of masculinity, and that such challenge may have opposite consequences for the maintenance of the status quo and gender inequalities. On the one hand, men's feminization may lead individuals to reduce their conformity to the antifemininity norm and subsequently challenge traditional gender roles (according to a reduced conformity effect). On the other hand, men's feminization may be experienced as a threat to men's positive and distinctive social identity, which would lead them to support gender dichotomy and traditional roles (increased conformity effect). In this project, we propose that the emergence of either effect actually depends on dispositional factors (i.e., personal endorsement of the traditional antifemininity norm) and situational factors (i.e., a potential threat to one's personal masculinity) that increase men's motivation to uphold the antifemininity norm of masculinity and reaffirm the gender-dichotomy. As such, this project has both scientific and practical relevance. On a theoretical level, it will first increase our understanding of the barriers preventing men to challenge the status quo and reduce gender inequalities. Second, this project will increase our knowledge about men's reaction to changing gender norms, and about the situations in which men will conform or resist these changes. Finally, it will also highlight the importance of men's reaction to such changes at three different levels (personal, intragroup, and intergroup). Practically speaking, this project widens our knowledge about these societal issues, and provides insights for developing efficient ways to increase men's engagement in gender equality. Further, these findings may prove useful to policy makers, practitioners, teachers and counselors working in the field to change men's career aspirations, their interest in work-family balance, their attitudes towards non-traditional men, their sexist tendencies and gender-based discriminations in the workplace.
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