Gender stereotypes have changed

Intercultural knowledge

Women and men are perceived to be equally competent

In the US, gender stereotypes have changed considerably. In a meta analysis with data from over seven decades, researchers from the University of Bern and Northwestern University (USA) show: The expertise and competency perceived in women have increased considerably in comparison to men. In an opinion poll from 1946, almost two thirds of those asked saw differences in intelligence: Most of the respondents said they felt men were superior to women in terms of their intelligence. In 2018, only around every seventh person saw a difference: Of these, 9% considered women to be more intelligent, while only 5% thought men were. This change is in line with the increasing education and participation of women in the labor market.

In a nutshell

"As in many western countries, the roles of men and women in the United States have changed dramatically since the mid-twentieth century."

Dr. Christa Nater, Institute of Psychology

For this study, the team headed up by researchers Christa Nater and Sabine Sczesny analyzed sixteen nationally representative opinion polls conducted in the US between 1946 and 2018. The number of respondents was more than 30,000.

These opinion polls examined three stereotypes:

Communion: characterized by qualities such as compassionate, sensitive, loving

Agency: characterized by qualities such as ambitious, aggressive, decisive

Competency: characterized by qualities such as intelligent, organized, creative.

The respondents specified whether they felt these qualities could be attributed more to women, more to men or to both genders equally.

In a nutshell

"Gender stereotypes mirror the social position of men and women in society and thus only change when these positions change."

Prof. Dr. Sabine Sczesny, Institute of Psychology