Progress in women’s representation in top leadership weakens people’s disturbance with gender inequality in other domains

Georgeac, O and Rattan, A (2019) Progress in women’s representation in top leadership weakens people’s disturbance with gender inequality in other domains. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148 (8). pp. 1435-1453. ISSN 0096-3445 OPEN ACCESS

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that progress for women in the domain of top leadership representation will naturally spread to other domains of gender inequality, whether in organizations or beyond. Extending social-cognitive theories of exemplar-based information processing to the study of social progress perceptions for stigmatized groups, we theorized that perceiving substantial female representation in top leadership may instead reduce people’s concern with ongoing gender inequality in other domains. Study 1 (N=331) finds that perceiving greater female representation in top corporate echelons decreases people’s disturbance with the gender pay gap, but not with wealth inequality generally. Study 2a (N=350) and its replication Study 2b (N=1,098) present correlational evidence of the proposed psychological mechanism: an overgeneralization of women’s access to equal opportunities. Study 3 (N=454) provides experimental evidence for this psychological process, tests attributions of the gender pay gap to women’s personal career choices as an alternative mechanism, and introduces a control condition to determine the directionality of the effect. Study 4 (N=326) replicates and extends the basic effect across various domains of gender inequality within and outside of the workplace. Taken together, these studies highlight the importance of acknowledging the fragmented nature of social progress across domains of inequality, and highlight the psychological underpinnings of a previously-overlooked potential barrier for progress toward gender equality.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association, 2019. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000561 This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Funder Name: London Business School Leadership Institute
Subjects: W > Women
I > Inequality
L > Leadership
D > Diversity in the workplace
P > Perception
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2019 15:35
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1041
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