Gender sterotypes and selection disparity: An investigation of the theories which explain gender disparity

Laura M Spice, Purdue University


While gender equality in the workplace is slowly improving, discrimination still exists. Past research has shown that women are underrepresented in both high status jobs, as well as stereotypically masculine careers. Two theories which explain gender discrimination –Lack of Fit Theory and Status Incongruence Hypothesis—have been widely supported but are rarely researched simultaneously. In this study participants rated hypothetical male and female job candidates applying to a hypothetical job that was either high status or low status, and in masculine domain or a feminine domain. Neither Lack of Fit nor Status Incongruence Hypothesis were supported. However, participants rated candidates applying for jobs in the feminine domain as less competent, hireable, and likeable. Participants also found high status candidates less hireable than low status candidates. These results suggest that within this study gender discrimination was more specific than robust, meaning research design should allow for detection of such nuanced discrimination.




Spice, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Organization Theory

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