ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (8): 1478-1488.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.01478

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Sweet poison: How does benevolent sexism affect women’s career development?

ZHANG Shanshan1(), XIE Jinyu2, WU Min1   

  1. 1 School of Marxism
    2 School of Business, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
  • Received:2018-07-08 Online:2019-07-26 Published:2019-06-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Shanshan


Benevolent sexism (BS) is a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are subjectively positive in tone but viewing women stereotypically in traditional gender roles. These attitudes failed to be detected as prejudice by the perceiver but still reinforces women’s subordinate status. Benevolent sexism revealed in family education and intimate relationships and in workplace contexts restricts the career development of women by disarming them and, rather than compelling them directly, persuading women to internalize these restrictions. To explain the function mechanism, previous studies have investigated how women perceive and react to benevolent sexism with corresponding theories such as stereotype threat, fear of success, and system justification theory. However, the objective and neutral standpoint that the researchers hold in the study of benevolent sexism is worth debating from the perspective of feminist psychology because masculine value has been implicitly admired and heterogeneity among women has been ignored. Considering the recent trend of feminist psychology, some further research ideas are implied and discussed in this review.

Key words: benevolent sexism, women’s career development;, feminism, gender equality

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