Men who believe in traditional gender roles for women earn an average of $8,500 a year more than men with less traditional attitudes, according to a study (pdf) from the University of Florida published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
On the other hand, women with more progressive views make only $1,500 more than women who hold traditional gender-role attitudes.
These income disparities mean that if a married couple holds traditional gender-role attitudes, the husband’s earning advantage is eight times greater than that of a couple with more egalitarian views.
Results also suggest that – even when time worked and labor-force participation are controlled for – traditional women are paid less than traditional men for comparable work.
“Changes in gender role attitudes have substantial effects on pay equity,” said Timothy Judge, PhD, one of the study’s authors. “When workers’ attitudes become more traditional, women’s earnings relative to men’s suffer greatly. When attitudes become more egalitarian, the pay gap nearly disappears.”
The research also sought to understand why some people hold more traditional or less traditional perceptions of gender roles. Notable findings:
- People living in Northeastern cities have less traditional views regarding gender roles.
- People whose parents both worked outside the home have less traditional views regarding gender roles.
- Married, religious people tend to have more traditional gender role views.
- Younger people have less traditional views but become more traditional over time.
“More traditional people may be seeking to preserve the historical separation of work and domestic roles.” Judge said. “This is happening even in today’s work force where men and women are supposedly equal as far as participation.”
The researchers said their results confirm that the gender pay gap is not just an economic phenomenon. “Psychology has an important role to play, too,” said Judge. “Our country’s policies have been leaning toward gender equality for decades now. But, according to our study, traditional gender role views continue to work against this goal.”
About the research: Timothy Judge, PhD, and Beth Livingston from the University of Florida, analyzed data from a nationally representative study of men and women who were interviewed four times between 1979 and 2005. A total of 12,686 people, age 14-22 at the beginning of the study, participated. There was a 60% retention rate over the course of the study. The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.
The study was specifically designed to examine gender-role views as a predictor of a person’s earnings. It included interviews with men and women who were asked about their views on gender roles in the work force and at home. They answered questions about whether they believed a woman’s place is in the home, whether employing wives leads to more juvenile delinquency, whether a man should be the achiever outside the home and whether the woman should take care of the home and family. Participants were also asked about their earnings, religious upbringing, education, and whether they worked outside the home and their marital status, in addition to other topics. Prior studies have shown that men tend to hold more traditional gender roles than do women, though this gap has narrowed over time.