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Empowerment through female vanguards in masculine professions?

career research blog

The latest career research insights to grow your career

Empowerment through female vanguards in masculine professions?

Anja Ghetta

A study from the United States examined how the exposure to gender roles in the field of work are related to the self-view of women as a leader and to their interest in masculine professions. When exposed to traditional job incumbents (e.g. male surgeon or female nurse) compared to non-traditional (e.g. female pilot or male flight attendant), women perceived themselves more as a leader. Compared to a control group, exposure to both, non- and traditional job incumbents, is related to less interest in masculine and more interest in feminine occupations. The researchers explain these counterintuitive findings by threatening upward comparison in case of successful females in masculine, high-status professions or by highlighting possible backlashes women face in male-dominated fields.

Rudman, L. A., & Phelan, J. E. (2010). The effect of priming gender roles on women's implicit gender beliefs and career aspirations. Social Psychology, 41(3), 192-202. doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000027