Sexism and gender inequality across 57 societies

Psychol Sci. 2011 Nov;22(11):1413-8. doi: 10.1177/0956797611420445. Epub 2011 Oct 10.


Theory predicts that individuals' sexism serves to exacerbate inequality in their society's gender hierarchy. Past research, however, has provided only correlational evidence to support this hypothesis. In this study, I analyzed a large longitudinal data set that included representative data from 57 societies. Multilevel modeling showed that sexism directly predicted increases in gender inequality. This study provides the first evidence that sexist ideologies can create gender inequality within societies, and this finding suggests that sexism not only legitimizes the societal status quo, but also actively enhances the severity of the gender hierarchy. Three potential mechanisms for this effect are discussed briefly.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hierarchy, Social*
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Role
  • South America
  • Time Factors