Do people care if men don't care about caring? The asymmetry in support for changing gender roles

Katharina Block, Alyssa Croft, Lucy De Souza, Toni Schmader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Not all instances of gender inequality are equally concerning. An emphasis on women's underrepresentation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math roles (STEM)has not been matched by a similar concern about men's underrepresentation in Healthcare, Early Education, and Domestic roles (HEED). The current research investigates whether and why people perceive gender imbalances in male-dominated careers (STEM and leadership)as more problematic than gender imbalances in female-dominated, caregiving careers (HEED). Results from four studies (total N = 754)document a tendency to more strongly support the inclusion of women in male-dominated careers, compared to the inclusion of men in female-dominated careers. This asymmetry in support for social action towards change is predicted by beliefs about what the ideal gender representation should be and the perceived causes of gender imbalances in each career type. Notably, gender representation in careers (and not salary)is the key factor underlying discrepant support for change (Study 4).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-131
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender equality
  • Gender roles
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Motivation
  • Social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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