Evolution of Gender Stereotypes in Spain: Traits and Roles

Article excerpt

The aim of this study is twofold: to determine whether (and how) gender stereotypes have changed over time through a comparison of two different sets of data collected in 1993 (N = 1255) and 2001 (N = 1255) from a representative sample of the Spanish population, and to examine the relation between gender traits and roles and its stability over time. In addition, special attention is paid to the psychometric properties of the measures of gender traits and roles used in the study. The content of gender stereotypes was found to remain stable over the target period of time, confirming the classical typology (a higher assignment of expressive-communal traits to women and of instrumental-agentic traits to men). The structure of the gender-role questionnaire allows us to distinguish between family-role and work-role stereotyping. Gender-role stereotyping shows a marked decline between 1993 and 2001, a result that contrasts with the stability of trait-role stereotyping. The fact that a very low correlation is observed at the two time points between these two components of gender stereotyping strongly suggests their independence.

Keywords: gender stereotypes, instrumental traits, expressive traits, role stereotypes

En este estudio se persigue un doble objetivo: comprobar la evolución de los estereotipos de género en dos aplicaciones, efectuadas en 1993 (N = 1255) y 2001 (N = 1255), ambas con muestras representativas de la población española, y analizar la relación que existe entre rasgos y roles, examinando si se han producido cambios en esa relación con el paso del tiempo. Asimismo, se analizan las propiedades psicométricas de las medidas de rasgo y de rol empleadas. Los resultados muestran que el contenido de los estereotipos de rasgo no se ha modificado, confirmándose la clásica tipología en la que se asignan más rasgos expresivo-comunales a las mujeres que a los hombres y, por el contrario, más rasgos instrumental-agentes a los hombres. La estructura del cuestionario de roles, permite diferenciar entre estereotipia de rol familiar y estereotipia de rol laboral. Al comparar la evolución de los estereotipos en este periodo, se observa un descenso en la estereotipia de la población española, más acusada en el componente de rol que en el de rasgo. La correlación entre ambos componentes es muy baja o no significativa, sin que se observen cambios importantes en la evolución de esa relación. Estos resultados parecen corroborar la independencia entre los componentes de rasgo y de rol.

Palabras clave: estereotipos de género, rasgos instrumentales, rasgos expresivos, estereotipia de rol de género

In 1992, thanks to the initiative of the Instituto de la Mujer [Women's Institute], various specialists elaborated a system of indicators to appraise the situation of Spanish women in comparison to men. Among the indicators were included gender stereotypes. This study, in its key aspects, is based on the proposal of gender stereotyping indicators of Morales and López-Sáez (1993, 1994). The idea behind the inclusion of these subjective measures is that the internalization of stereotypes affects behavior and is the origin of gender differences. One of the main goals of this system of indicators was periodic assessment, in order to obtain a diagnosis of the situation at a concrete point in time and to determine the evolution over time. In this article, changes in gender stereotyping between the first administration of the indicators-1993-and the last one with available data for the time being-2001-are verified.

Within the system of indicators, two components were used to measure gender stereotyping: personality traits and roles (Morales & López-Sáez, 1993, 1994). Trait stereotypes reflect psychological characteristics that are more frequently attributed to men or women, whereas role stereotyping focuses on beliefs about the activities considered more appropriate for men and for women. The theoretical framework that supports the choice of this measurement of indicators is integrated within the relation that various authors have established between trait and role gender stereotypes (Eagly & Wood, 1991, 1999; Eagly, Wood & Diekman, 2000; Wood & Eagly, 2002). …