Three peer reviewed journal articles per substance area and review, summarize, and critique them - each article review should be 1 page.
The Interaction of Race and Gender:
Changing Gender-Role Attitudes,
J. Scott Carter, University of Central Florida
Mamadi Corra, East Carolina University
Shannon K. Carter, University of Central Florida
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 ?nd 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 signi?cantly in
their attitudes toward women working outside the home and its impact on children.
Assessing over-time trends, we ?nd 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 ?ndings 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.
The interactive impact of race and gender on attitudes toward the changing
roles of women has been of particular interest to scholars. Gender alone implies
a certain fundamental ideology about the status and acceptability of varying
roles for women in contemporary U.S. society. When race is ?gured into the
discussion, the effect becomes a great deal more complicated. Scholars pose
that the interaction of race and gender produces a dynamic relationship that
creates exclusive social categories with unique histories and experiences
(Collins, 1990; Dugger, 1988; Hunter and Sellers, 1998; Kane, 1992). With
respect to black women, for instance, Dugger (1988:425) argues that ??racism
and sexism should be viewed as combining in such a way that they create a
distinct social location rather than an additive form of ?double disadvantage.???
Direct correspondence to J. Scott Carter, University of Central Florida, Daytona,
Department of Sociology, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., FL 32114
firstname.lastname@example.org. For those wanting to replicate the study, please contact J. Scott
Carter for the data and coding information.
SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY, Volume 90, Number 1, March 2009
r 2009 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Changing Gender-Role Attitudes, 1974?2006
In this light, race and gender interact to produce unique experiences that
shape the personal realities and attitudes of individuals about their situation
and the world around them. The vestige of past and current experiences may
result in varying attitudes toward the more dynamic roles of women in
contemporary U.S. society. Following this logic, the life experiences of black
men, black women, white men, and white women differ and produce
unique observations about gender inequality and gender relations.
Questions still exist regarding how the unique social locations produced
by the combination of race and gender translate into attitudes toward the
changing roles of women in contemporary U.S. society. Generally, distinctive gender-role attitudes have been associated with personal experiences
of structural inequality (Hunter and Sellers, 1998), unequal employment
practices (Wildavsky, 1994), and the gender wage gap (Davis and Robinson,
1991), among others. It has also been argued that shared experiences with
others who maintain nontraditional attitudes can facilitate more liberal
gender-role attitudes (Bolzendahl and Myers, 2004). In this light, recent
empirical research ?nds women to hold more liberal gender-role attitudes
than men (Bolzendahl and Myers, 2004; Brewster and Padavic, 2000;
Ciabattari, 2001).1 Assessing the interactive impact of race and gender,
research shows that black females hold more liberal gender-role attitudes
than their white male, white female, and black male counterparts (Hunter
and Sellers, 1998; Kane, 2000; Kane and Kyyro, 2001).
With the passing of several decades since the naissance of the civil rights
movement, however, life experiences of all groups in the United States, including white and black males and females, have changed considerably (Kane,
2000). Brooks and Bolzendahl (2003) argue that several factors can be linked
to changing trends in gender-role attitudes in the contemporary United States,
including the increasing labor force participation of women and changing
familial and household structures. Women of all races are entering college, the
workforce, and politics at higher rates than ever before (Twenge, 1997). In fact,
Dugger (1988:428) observes a ??[g]rowing similarity in the productive and
reproductive pro?les of Black and White women.??
Here, we assess the interactive impact of race and gender on gender-role
attitudes by comparing responses of white and black males and females to a
number of survey items from the 1972?2006 General Social Survey (GSS).
In doing so, we explore shifts in such attitudes among white males, white
females, black males, and black females over time.
Scholars argue that the salience of race may preempt the impact of gender
on attitudes toward the shifting roles of women in contemporary U.S.
Exceptions: Cherlin and Walters (1981); Kane (1992); and Kluegel and Smith (1986).
Social Science Quarterly
society, resulting in greater egalitarianism among black women than white
women (Bolzendahl and Myers, 2004; Kane, 1992). Attitudinal differences
between women by race may result from differences in experience. Compared to white women, black women are more likely to hold year-round
full-time jobs outside the home (41 percent of black women compared to 36
percent of white women) and to be the head of household (Farley, 2005).
Black women aged 15?19 have signi?cantly higher birth rates than their
white counterparts (71.4 and 22.9 per 1,000, respectively) (Farley, 2005).
Consequently, Kane (1992) argues that the increased participation of black
women in the labor force, their prominent roles in the family, and their
distinctive outsider status in society foster more liberal attitudes toward
nontraditional gender roles than white women have. Dugger (1988) further
notes that such nontraditional attitudes among black women began as early
as the period of slavery, a historically unique time period that forced black
women to adopt a nontraditional de?nition of womanhood that embodies
self-reliance, hard work, tenacity, and sexual equality.
Dugger (1988:426) observes: ??Two systems of social relations, that of
production and that of reproduction, is primary in the formation of [the]
gender-role attitudes and identity [of black and white women].?? Women
highly invested in reproduction are likely to have low labor force participation rates and are less likely to question economic and social inequality.
The greater likelihood of black women than white or Hispanic women to be
employed full time, year round (Farley, 2005), for example, suggests that
black women are more invested in production and nontraditional in their
viewpoints (Kane, 1992, 2000; Kane and Kyyro, 2001), and see employment as being compatible with maternal and familial responsibilities
(Collins, 1990). Scholars also ?nd black women to be the most skeptical of
gender reverse discrimination in response to af?rmative action policies
(Kane and Kyyro, 2001) and less receptive to collective political action
(Kane, 1992). This literature, however, is not without its inconsistencies.
Several studies ?nd no differences in gender-role attitudes between black and
white women (Marshall, 1990; Rinehart, 1992).
In assessing attitudes of black and white men, the effect of their social
location and early socialization is a bit more dif?cult to gauge (Blee and
Tickamyer, 1995; Hunter and Sellers, 1998). The life experiences of males
vary by race (Connell, 2005) but whether that translates into differences in
gender attitudes is yet to be observed. Kane (1992) posits that black men
may be less traditional because they are more sensitive to oppression in
general, may share resistance with black women to racial inequality, and
often gain acceptance of women during their early years while being raised
by single mothers. Collins (1990) adds that the interdependence of black
men and women in the labor market may produce more acceptance of
changing roles for women in and outside the home by black men.
Empirical ?ndings that show more liberal gender-role attitudes for black
men in relation to white men tend to be limited and inconsistent at best.
Changing Gender-Role Attitudes, 1974?2006
Some scholars ?nd black men to be more liberal than white men, particularly in regard to women being employed outside the home (Ciabattari,
2001; Blee and Tickamyer, 1995). However, studies also ?nd black men to
be more conservative regarding gender roles than their white male counterparts. For example, black males have been found to be more traditional
than white males toward women entering into politics (Bolzendahl and
Myers, 2004; Ransford and Miller, 1983) and toward gender roles in the
home (Blee and Tickamyer, 1995). Survey questions that ask respondents
their opinion regarding women in leadership positions in particular tend to
evoke very traditional responses from black men. Kane (2000:426) suggests
that this may be due to an ??investment in gender inequality as providing
some compensation for . . . racial inequality.?? Other studies, however, reveal
very little difference in gender-role attitudes between black and white men
Existing research supports the idea that, in general, gender-role attitudes
have become more egalitarian over time (Blee and Tickamyer, 1995;
Bolzendahl and Myers, 2004; Brewster and Padavic, 2000; Cherlin
and Walters, 1981; Mason and Lu, 1988; Peek, Lowe, and Williams,
1991; Twenge, 1997; Wilkie, 1993). For instance, Cherlin and Walters
(1981) ?nd men and women more likely to be accepting of women obtaining employment and becoming president in 1976 and 1978 than in
previous years. More recently, Twenge (1997) and Ciabattari (2001) also
observe a liberal shift in attitudes for men and women regarding changing
gender roles. Blee and Tickamyer (1995) ?nd a positive shift in attitudes
toward working wives across time for blacks and whites.
Wilkie poses that this apparent liberal shift in attitudes is associated with a
change in ??gender expectations about family roles?? (1993:261). The United
States has witnessed an increase in the number of dual-earner and femaleheaded families. Consequently, traditional views of women in the home and
workplace may be discarded. The greater acceptance of women having
more freedom is born out of necessity. In addition, Cotter, Hermsen, and
Vanneman (1999) argue that the change in gender-role attitudes is due to a
measurable decline in gender inequality in the marketplace. Other scholars
pose that the shift may be due primarily to cohort replacement and, to a
lesser extent, ideology change (Brewster and Padavic, 2000; Brooks and
Bolzendahl, 2003; Mason and Lu, 1988; Seligman, 1999).
Very little research has assessed differential changes in attitudes across
time by race and gender. Ostensibly, the life experiences of black and white
men and women have evolved over the past 30 years. Blee and Tickamyer
(1995:23) argue that ??[t]he entry of large numbers of white married women
into the labor force and rising divorce rates in the 1970s led to overall
Social Science Quarterly
changes in normative gender role attitudes.?? Blee and Tickamyer (1995)
further pose that this evolution is even more pronounced in the younger
generation. This apparent change in life experience across race leads us to
predict a possible attitudinal convergence between black women and white
women over time. Indeed, Dugger (1988) predicted that white women?s
increasing participation in the labor force would eventually lead to a convergence of attitudes.
Such broad social changes should produce differential shifts in attitudes
for other social groups as well, including black and white males. Comparing
men and women separately, Bolzendahl and Myers (2004) ?nd the impact
of race on attitudes toward abortion, premarital sex, and family responsibilities to be declining over time.
Data and Methods
The data for the current study are taken from the General Social Survey, a
randomly drawn nationally representative sample of English-speaking adults
(18 years of age and older) living in noninstitutional settings in the United
States (Davis and Smith, 2006). The National Opinion Research Center
(NORC) conducted the survey annually from 1972 to 1994 and, since then,
biennially. The analyses to follow use data from surveys conducted from
1974 to 2006 and include (1) questionnaire items regarding attitudes toward women and politics from 1974 to 1998; and (2) survey items concerning attitudes toward women, traditional roles at home, and the impact
of work on children included in the GSS from 1977 to 2006.
To assess change across time, we pooled the data into three time periods
for each analysis (two indices?see description below) and then calculated
regression models.2 Each time period represented a single decade. For instance, all years in the 1970s were combined in one analysis. Then, to help
discern whether a signi?cant change in the regression parameter estimates
occurred from one time period to another, we calculated t tests (see results
section for further discussion). Pooling annual data into three time periods
improves the reliability of our results by reducing the impact of undersampling of black respondents, a phenomenon that has been previously associated with GSS data (Kane and Kyyro, 2001).
Several survey items regarding the roles of women in politics were included in the GSS from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. Similarly, survey
To assess change across time, we also calculated interaction effects with our main
dependent variables and year. Similar results were found.
Changing Gender-Role Attitudes, 1974?2006
items measuring attitudes toward women working at home while men work
outside the home and the impact of women working on children were
included in the GSS over a three-decade period, including the early 1980s
through 2006. The frequency of these GSS survey items made them ideal for
our trend analysis.
With the foregoing caveats, our dependent measure consists of two indices. The ?rst index measures attitudes toward women entering politics and
was used to assess change in gender-role attitudes from 1974 to 1998. The
second index included survey items measuring attitudes toward women?s
role at home and/or their entry into the labor force and its impact on
children. This index was used to assess change in gender-role attitudes from
the early 1980s (including 1977) to 2006. It should be noted that we
combined 1977 with the 1980s to reduce the impact of sample size on the
reliability of our ?ndings.
The ?rst composite index (POLITICS) assessing women?s entry into politics
was constructed from three GSS items.
1. ??If your party nominated a woman for President, would you vote for
her if she were quali?ed for the job??? [FEPRES]
2. ??Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Women should take
care of running their homes and leave running the country up to
3. ??Tell me if you agree or disagree with this statement: Most men are
better suited emotionally for politics than are most women.?? [FEPOL]
Items were recoded such that the highest scores re?ect the most liberal
responses and the lowest scores the least liberal (range: 0?3). The ?rst
question provided respondents with either a ??yes?? or ??no?? response. A
response of ??yes?? was coded as 1, whereas ??no?? was coded as 0 in the
analysis. The second and third questions were similarly dichotomized into
??agree?? (0) and ??disagree?? (1). Responses of ??don?t know,?? ??no answer,??
and ??not applicable?? to any of these questions were excluded.
From 1974?1998, these identically worded GSS questions were asked of
respondents a total of 16 times. Correlations among the annual averages of
the three items ranged from 0.941 to 0.999. Although statistically signi?cant, the individual-level correlations among the three items were considerably lower than the correlations among annual means. They ranged from
0.034 to 0.224. Using a principal component analysis, only one component
had an eigenvalue greater than 1 (1.41) and it accounted for over 40 percent
of the variance. Therefore, the three-question composite index used in our
analysis provides a parsimonious one-factor measure.
The second composite index (HOME AND WORK) was constructed from the
following three GSS items.
Now I?m going to read several more statements. As I read each one, please
tell me whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with
Social Science Quarterly
it . . .:
1) A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship
with her children as a mother who does not work. [FECHLD]
2) A preschool child is likely to suffer if his or her mother works. [FEPRESCH]
3) It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside
the home and the woman takes care of the home and family. [FEFAM]
Items were recoded so that the highest scores re?ected the most liberal
responses and the lowest scores the least liberal (range: 0?9). Each of the
three questions provided respondents with a Likert response scale ranging
from strongly agree to strongly disagree. For the ?rst question (FECHLD),
coding was reversed so that strongly disagree was coded as 0, agree as 1,
disagree as 2, and strongly agree as 3. The response order for Questions 2
and 3 (FEPRESCH and FEFAM) remained in the same order provided to
respondents in the GSS, with 0 equaling strong agreement and more traditional attitudes and 3 re?ecting strong disagreement and more liberal
attitudes. The individual-level correlations among the three questions included in the composite index reached statistical signi?cance and ranged
from 0.208 to 0.325. Using a principal component analysis, we ?nd a
parsimonious one-factor measure. Only one component had an eigenvalue
greater than 1 (1.51) and it accounted for over 50 percent of the variance.
In accordance with past research on gender attitudes, several control
variables were included in our analysis. If the interactive effects of race and
gender are independent and not spurious, they should remain, even with
these variables controlled. Along with the four social categories produced by
the combination of race and gender (black men, black women, white men,
and white women), the following controls are included in our analysis as
independent variables: marital status, age, income, education, place of residency (urban and region), and religious fundamentalism. Marital status was
treated as a dichotomous variable, with married being recoded as 1 and
nonmarried recoded as 0. Assuming a linear effect of age, the age variable
was treated as an ordinal variable.3 Similarly, income was treated as an
ordinal variable ranging from 1 (lowest income level) to 12 (highest income
level). Education was treated as a continuous variable ranging from 0 to 20
years of education.
Past research also revealed a signi?cant impact of place of residency, with
individuals living in the South and in rural areas maintaining more tradi3
In an additional analysis, assuming a nonlinear effect, age was treated as a categorical
variable with age 75 and over treated as the comparison category with all younger categories
(ages were collapsed into ?ve-year ranges).
Changing Gender-Role Attitudes, 1974?2006
tional gender-role attitudes than their non-South and urban counterparts
(Twenge, 1997; Wirth,  1964). Therefore, to control for place of
residency, urban and region were dichotomized into two dummy variables
in the analysis. Urban was recoded as 1 and nonurban recoded as 0.4 Similarly, South was treated as 1 whereas non-South was recoded as 0. The
differentiation of the states into South and non-South regions followed
previous studies that used the U.S. Census de?nition of South and nonSouth (Carter, 2005; Carter and Corra, 2005; Tuch, 1987).
It has also been shown that more traditional attitudes are associated with a
respondent?s level of religious fundamentalism (Carter and Corra, 2005). As
a proxy for religious fundamentalism, we included two GSS questions often
used in the literature that tap into respondents? level of fundamentalism.
One of these questions measured respondents? church attendance (ATTEND)
and was treated as a ordinal variable in our analysis, with lower scores
equating to less attendance (0 5 never) and higher scores equating to greater
attendance (8 5 more than once a week). The other question asked respondents to describe the nature of their religion as being fundamental, moderate, or liberal (FUND). This variable was treated as a dummy variable with
the liberal category used as the comparison group in our analysis.
The sex and race variables were collapsed to create four social categories:
black women, black men, white women, and white men. For the original
race variable, a category of ??other?? contained very few cases and, consequently, was treated as missing.
Unadjusted mean scores for the gender-role attitudes indices by race and
gender were initially assessed overall and for each year (available on request).
The general trend across the decades for both indices re?ected growing
Tuch (1987) included the following states as non-South: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota,
South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. South includes
the following states: Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas.
As delineated by Tuch (1987), urban included the following areas: within an SMSA and?
a large central city (over 250,000); a medium-size central city (50,000 to 250,000); a suburb
of a large central city; a suburb of a medium-size central city; an unincorporated area of a
large central city (division, township, etc.); an unincorporated area of a medium central city.
Nonurban includes the following areas: not within an SMSA, (within a county) and?a small
city (10,000 to 49,999); a town or village (2,500 to 9,999); an incorporated area less than
2,500 or an unincorporated area of 1,000 to 2,499; open country within larger civil divisions,
for example, township, division.
Social Science Quarterly
acceptance of changing gender roles across all groups (white males and
females and black males and females); however, there was little evidence for
differential shifts for these groups across time.
For the politics index in particular (index range: 0?3), white males surprisingly maintained the most liberal attitudes with a mean score of 2.35,
while black and white females followed closely behind (mean 5 2.34 and
2.31, respectively). Black males exhibited the most traditional attitudes
toward women entering politics (mean 5 2.14).
For the second index assessing attitudes toward women working outside
the home and its impact on children (index range: 0?9), black females
maintained the highest overall mean score and most liberal gender-role
attitudes (mean 5 5.48), with white females holding the second highest
mean score (mean 5 5.22). White males and black males held the lowest
mean index scores and, thus, the most traditional gender-role attitudes
(means 5 4.57 and 4.83, respectively).
Although the mean scores for some groups appear to be increasing faster
than others over time, no concrete evidence for a convergence or divergence
across time is observed. We cannot, for example, say that the data indicate a
particular pattern consistently and throughout the time period under study
for each group in relation to the others. Therefore, a more rigorous analysis
is needed. The section to follow employs multivariate analysis to more fully
investigate differences between our social groups.
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