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Individual Beliefs Lead to Gender Discrimination

Individual Beliefs Lead to Gender DiscriminationA new international study of 57 countries discovers that biased individual beliefs or sexism leads to gender inequality.

While the finding is not surprising, experts say that it is the largest study to demonstrate that individual beliefs extend to society as a whole.

“I’m interested in the consequences people’s beliefs about how the world should work and how the world does work,” said Mark Brandt of DePaul University, the author of the new study.

As a part of this investigation, Brandt used data from an international survey conducted between 2005 and 2007.

The survey included two statements to measure sexism: “On the whole, men make better political leaders than women do” and “On the whole, men make better business executives than women do.”

Brandt found that sexism was directly associated with increases in gender inequality over time.

“You could get the impression that having sexist beliefs, or prejudiced beliefs more generally, is just an individual thing—‘my beliefs don’t impact you,’” Brandt says.

But this study shows that isn’t true. If individual people in a society are sexist, men and women in that society become less equal.

“Gender inequality is such a tough beast to crack because there are so many contributing factors,” Brandt says. Policies can contribute to inequality—and some countries have insured some measure of equality by mandating that some number of seats in the legislature be reserved for women.

“But this study suggests that if the goal is increased equality, individual attitudes have to change.”

Source: Association for Psychological Science

Individual Beliefs Lead to Gender Discrimination

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Individual Beliefs Lead to Gender Discrimination. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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