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The Interaction of Race and Gender: Changing Gender-Role Attitudes, 1974–2006

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  • *Direct correspondence to J. Scott Carter, University of Central Florida, Daytona, Department of Sociology, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., FL 32114 〈carter@mail.ucf.edu〉. For those wanting to replicate the study, please contact J. Scott Carter for the data and coding information.

Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this article is to assess over-time trends in the interactive effects of gender and race on attitudes toward the changing roles of women in U.S. society.

Methods. This article uses data from the 1974–2006 General Social Survey. Gender-role attitudes are measured using two composite indices of traditionalism.

Results. We find black females tend to hold less traditional gender-role attitudes than their black male, white male, and white female counterparts. Black and white males tend to hold similar attitudes toward women entering politics, but differ significantly in their attitudes toward women working outside the home and its impact on children. Assessing over-time trends, we find the difference between black females and the other social groups to be generally diminishing. This convergence is more pronounced for white and black females. The difference in attitudes toward women entering politics between black females and white males, on the other hand, appears to be maintaining over time.

Conclusions. These findings support the idea that the labor force participation for women may have provided the groundwork for the evolution of attitudes for men and women. As white women in particular increase participation in the workforce, ideologies regarding the place of women in U.S. society have shifted.

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