Sociology Department Colloquium: Sarah Thébaud
Please join us for a colloquium being given by Sarah Thébaud, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Title: Prescriptive Gender Stereotypes in Contemporary America: Content, Dynamics, and Implications for Inequality
Abstract: Cultural beliefs about gender play a critical role in sociological accounts of gender inequality. In addition to descriptive beliefs about the ways men and women typically are, beliefs about the ways men and women ostensibly should and should not be are critically important for understanding gendered patterns of decision-making and behavior. But knowledge about the specific content of prescriptive gender stereotypes in the contemporary US—especially on dimensions that relate to occupational segregation and family divisions of labor—is surprisingly lacking. The extent to which cultural prescriptions and proscriptions map onto gender-typed roles in these domains also remains unknown. In this talk, I present findings from an original, population representative survey experiment that measures the content of prescriptive and descriptive gender stereotypes along 100 traits and attributes, 54 of which have not been evaluated in previous research. A follow-up study investigates the content of prescriptive stereotypes for mothers and fathers. Findings reveal that there has been substantially more change in the content of descriptive stereotypes in recent years than in the content of prescriptive stereotypes. Moreover, findings regarding the content of prescriptive stereotypes on novel character dimensions and for mothers versus fathers offer a basis upon which to refine and specify our theoretical accounts of occupational segregation, family divisions of labor, and changes therein.