Thursday, March 30, 2023

Women consistently reported less inequality for themselves than they reported for their group, and for both sexes, political leanings predicted support for gender equality more strongly than perceived personal and societal inequality

Political Ideology Outdoes Personal Experience in Predicting Support for Gender Equality. A. Timur Sevincer, Cindy Galinsky, Lena Martensen, Gabriele Oettingen. Political Psychology, March 27 2023.

Abstract: Indices of gender equality provide an inconsistent picture of current gender inequality in countries with relatively high equality. We examined women's and men's subjectively perceived gender inequality and their support for gender equality in the general population and in politicians, respectively, in three countries with relatively high gender equality: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany (total N = 1,612). In both women's and men's perceptions, women were treated more unequally than men. However, the inequality that women perceived was larger than the inequality men perceived. Additionally, women reported they personally experience less inequality than women as a group (person-group discrepancy). Finally, women's and men's left/liberal (vs. right/conservative) political ideology turned out to be a relatively more powerful predictor of support for gender equality than perceived personal and societal inequality. We discuss reasons for why political ideology emerged as the strongest predictor of equality support and sketch out implications for policy efforts toward promoting gender equality.

Inconsistent Indices of Gender Equality

The indices estimate gender inequality by looking at indicators for inequality from various life domains to calculate an overall inequality index. Inconsistencies arise because the indices may focus on different domains and use different indicators, scale formats, and calculation formulas.

Global Gender Gap Index

The GGGI focuses on four domains: economy, politics, education, and health. It uses indicators such as income, women in ministerial positions, literacy rate, and sex ratio at birth, among others. The GGGI calculates women's disadvantage compared to men and can take values between 1 (complete disadvantage for women) and 0 (no disadvantage for women). Advantages for women on some indicators (more women holding degrees than men) do not cancel out disadvantages on others.

Gender Inequality Index

The GII focuses on the same four domains as the GGGI: economy, politics, education, and health. It uses different indicators however: women in the workforce, women in parliament, academic degrees, maternal mortality, among others. Like the GGGI, the GII calculates women's disadvantage compared to men and can take values between 0 (complete disadvantage for women) and 1 (no disadvantage for women). As with the GGGI, advantages for women on some indicators do not cancel out disadvantages on others.

Basic Index of Gender Inequality

The BIGI focuses on three domains. As the GGGI and GII, it focuses on education and health. It also focuses on life satisfaction. And it uses different indicators than the GGGI and GI: years of secondary education, life expectancy, and self-reported well-being, among others. Unlike the GGGI and GII, the BIGI calculates women's and men's disadvantage compared to each other. It can take values between −1 (complete disadvantage for men) and 1 (complete disadvantage for women), with 0 being equality (no advantage/ disadvantage for women or men). With the BIGI, advantages for one gender on some indicators can cancel out disadvantages on others.

Actively Supporting Gender Equality

Gender equality involves not only equal rights but also equal access to resources and opportunities. Arguments for improving gender equality involve moral reasons (both genders1 should be treated equally fairly) and economic reasons (the economy benefits when both genders are treated equally fairly). In principle, both genders may benefit from more equality (when social norms allow both men and women to take on whichever role they prefer).

As for what leads people to actively support equality, the starting point may be some objective disadvantage (e.g., fewer rights for one gender). Support for equality may also be instigated, however, by people subjectively perceiving inequality, disadvantage, or injustice (van Zomeren et al., 2008). Several mediating mechanisms have been proposed for the link between inequality perceptions and equality support. These involve shared identity or fate with the disadvantaged (Jenkins et al., 2021), political involvement (Castle et al., 2020), and efficacy to bring about change (van Zomeren et al., 2008), among others.

Perceived Personal Versus Societal Inequality

Research on how people perceive inequality distinguishes between inequality people personally experience and inequality people believe their group experiences. The inequality people personally experience is how they perceive themselves treated compared to a member of another group. This perceived personal inequality is also known as personal discrimination or egoistic relative deprivation. The inequality people believe their group experiences is how they perceive their group is treated compared to another group. This perceived societal inequality is also known as group discrimination or collective relative deprivation (Foster & Matheson, 1995; Moghaddam et al., 1997).

People often report the inequality they themselves experience as being different from the inequality their group experiences. For example, members of historically disadvantaged groups (women) reported experiencing less discrimination personally than they reported their group experiences, even though they were objectively discriminated against (Crosby, 19821984). The literature identified four reasons for this person-group discrepancy: First, people deny personal disadvantage to avoid discomfort and maintain a sense of control (Ruggiero & Taylor, 1995). Second, they exaggerate their group's disadvantage to promote change (Taylor et al., 1990). Third, they overestimate their group's disadvantage because examples of the group's disadvantage come easier to mind (availability heuristic; Moghaddam et al., 1997). Fourth, they compare themselves to a different reference group when estimating personal disadvantage (themselves to other group members) versus group disadvantage (their group to another group; Kessler et al., 2000). Because many societies have achieved more gender equality in the last decades and respective studies are now at least 25 years old (Crosby, 19821984, Moghaddam et al., 1997), we were interested in how much gender inequality women and men would perceive in present time and whether there would still be a person-group discrepancy. Moreover, both perceived personal inequality and perceived societal inequality should promote readiness to reduce the inequality (Kessler et al., 2000).

Is the Dark Triad Desirable? Evaluating the Attractiveness of Fictitious Characters for Short- and Long-term Relationships

Dragostinov, Yavor, and Tom Booth. 2023. “Is the Dark Triad Desirable? Evaluating the Attractiveness of Fictitious Characters for Short- and Long-term Relationships.” PsyArXiv. March 26. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Most of the literature on the attractiveness of Dark Triad traits has focused on female mate choice and low versus high trait levels. This study assessed how people with male and female sexual preferences evaluate potential romantic partners who display either low, medium, or high levels of Dark Triad traits for short-term and long-term relationships. Nine fictitious persons in the form of vignettes (with facial images) were presented to every participant. The faces were selected from an existing image bank and matched for physical attractiveness. Study 1 (n = 478) used a fixed composition for face and trait description, while the composition for Study 2 (n = 793) was randomized. Mixed-effects modelling was implemented for both studies. Study 1 demonstrated people with a male preference perceived medium levels of all traits as the most attractive for short-term relationships. Low levels of Narcissism were perceived as the most attractive for long-term relationships by both groups. For Study 2, the low levels were perceived as the most attractive for both types of relationships by both groups. Findings from Study 1 were consistent across previous Dark Triad attractiveness literature, while findings from Study 2 contradicted them. Differences between the two studies are discussed.