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Exposure to Sexism Impairs Women’s Writing Skills Even Before Their Evaluation

4 April 2020

Publication date
18 March 2020

Original abstract

In two experimental vignette studies, we examined the relationship between exposure to a sexist message and women’s writing skills in the context of a simulated job selection interview. In Study 1, under experimental conditions, 85 Italian women (Mage = 26.99, SD = 10.62) were exposed to a benevolent sexist message, a hostile sexist message, or a neutral message, and evaluated the sexism of the job selection interview they were involved in. Then, before performing the problem-solving task that would allegedly be used in the selection process, we measured the perceived sexism of the scenario by asking them to write a short text — not connected with the subsequent evaluation — in which they had to describe this experience to a close friend. Results showed that exposure to a hostile or to a benevolent sexist message impaired women’s writing skills, through the mediation of the perception of sexism of the message. These results have been found by serendipity. In Study 2 (N = 114, Mage = 26.99, SD = 10.62), performed using the same experimental procedure, but adopting more convincing variables and stronger data analyses, we confirmed the results of Study 1. The strengths, limitations, and possible developments of the research are discussed.

Grilli, S., Pacilli, M.G. & Roccato, M. (2020). Exposure to Sexism Impairs Women’s Writing Skills Even Before Their Evaluation. Sexuality & Culture (2020). DOI: 10.1007/s12119-020-09722-8.

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hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, performance, writing skills


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