Question Details

Answered: - The Interaction of Race and Gender: Changing Gender-Role

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,


1974?2006 n


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


hcarter@mail.ucf.edui. 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


(Wilkie, 1993).


Attitudinal Trends


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).



Dependent Variable


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


men.?? [FEHOME]


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.



Independent Variables


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, [1938] 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.






General Trends


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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