Sex Differences in Work-Family Ideology

Jamie M. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This study explores gender ideology at the cusp of young adulthood, prior to many of the individual experiences (relationships, schooling, work/family balance) that shift personal views. It was hypothesized that women respond to measures of work-family attitudes in a way congruent with egalitarian gender ideology, while men express more traditional views of gender. This prediction was tested using data from the 2002 Monitoring the Future (MTF) 12th-Grade Survey. Men were found to be much more likely than women to support a traditional gendered division of labor, to believe maternal employment to have negative effects on young children, and to regard maternal employment as an impediment to close mother-child relationships. However, men’s gender beliefs were determined to be predominantly neutral—neither traditional nor egalitarian, rather than traditional. This suggests that greater levels of gender equality may arise as this young generation finds its place within social institutions.

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Presented in Poster Session 2