Role Models

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Source: UC Santa Barbara

It’s well established that people associate certain jobs with gender. Firefighters are male and nurses are female, for example. But what if an occupation, because it’s new to society, is seen as neither male nor female? 

A paper co-authored by a UC Santa Barbara scholar explores how a managerial role can become gender-stereotyped and the effect that has on the authority of both male and female managers. 

Using a unique set of data from a microfinance bank in Central America, Sarah Thébaud, an assistant professor of sociology at UCSB, and Laura Doering of McGill University in Montreal, found that clients quickly treated previously gender-ambiguous roles as if they were male- or female-typed, and gave more authority to the managers who filled the role when they associated the job with men rather than women.

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