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Innovations in the measurement of gender role attitudes

Coordinator 1Professor Corinna Kleinert (Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) and University of Bamberg)
Coordinator 2Dr Gundula Zoch (Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi))
Coordinator 3Dr Stefanie Heyne (LMU Munich, Department of Sociology)

Session Details

In large-scale surveys, gender ideologies are commonly measured by item sets which cover attitudes towards different gender roles in various spheres of life. They aim at measuring individual support for various separate spheres such as women’s labour market participation or the division of housework (Davis & Greenstein 2009). Beliefs in gendered spheres are referred to as traditional ideologies, while egalitarian gender ideologies describe beliefs that value an equal division of paid and domestic work among men and women as well as equal participation in different occupational fields and roles.

The gender role attitude items used in survey research so far differ with regard to the extent of gender traditionalism expressed as well as with regard to the spheres of life covered. Comparative research has found gender role attitude items slanted towards traditionalism to produce clearer differences between countries than more egalitarian items. However, these items seem less suitable to capture ideology change over time in groups with relatively egalitarian views. Conversely, items which capture more egalitarian beliefs might lead to insufficient discrimination between traditional and non-traditional respondents (e.g. Braun 2008). Moreover, previous research has argued that due to the overall decline in more traditional ideologies in society, gender ideologies do not comfortably fall onto a continuum of traditional and egalitarian gender role attitudes anymore, but are increasingly multidimensional in nature. Thus, commonly used item sets might not be sufficient anymore to capture traditional and egalitarian ideologies as well as different types of egalitarianism.

For this session, we welcome contributions that
- investigate problems of measuring gender role attitudes, either as determinants or outcomes, for example of life-course events or policy changes, by focusing on single-country or comparative studies,
- introduce new and innovative conceptual frameworks which are measurable in survey research,
- provide evidence from new measurement approaches based on a broad range of data types and instruments, i.e., small- or large-scale, qualitative and quantitative studies, longitudinal studies, experiments, vignette studies or mixed method studies.

The stream particularly welcomes contributions that aim at developing a more valid measurement of gender role attitudes which is suitable for investigating ideology changes over time as well as intergenerational ideology transmission in large-scale surveys with limited time and heterogeneous respondents.