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Does Gender Matter in Personality Psychology?



In this essay, we assess whether gender is important to personality in the eyes of mainstream personality psychologists and in the eyes of feminist psychologists. We discover that these two perspectives are in fact widely divergent. Most research on personality published today in top-tier ‘mainstream’ personality journals does not take gender seriously. Moreover, frequently-used textbooks on personality – whether focused on theories or themes – pay little attention to issues of gender. In contrast, most research on personality published in journals focused on the psychology of women and gender treats gender as an important feature of personality. In that research, gender is fully theoretically integrated into the research, testable hypotheses are developed, and analyses include considerable attention to gender. The current segregation of perspectives on the relevance of gender to personality strikes us as deeply problematic for progress in developing a complete picture of personality in context.