Women and Men in Conflicting Social Roles: Implications from Social Psychological Research


Kimberley A. Clow, Faculty of Social Science & Humanities, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 55 Bond St. East, Oshawa, ON, L1G 0A5 [e-mail: kimberley.clow@uoit.ca].


Despite legislation for gender equality in many nations, gender discrimination continues to be a problem. Psychological research from social role theory, the stereotype content model, and ambivalent sexism provide insights into the motivations behind gender inequality. This article reviews key research findings from these theoretical perspectives in the realm of gendered occupational inequalities and segregation. The emphasis of the article is on individuals fulfilling social roles that are perceived as conflicting and the consequences of those perceptions. Parents in the workforce, female leaders, and male nurses are used as specific examples of social role conflict. The policy implications from this research—and the issues facing parents in the workforce, female leaders, and male nurses in particular—are discussed.