Penalties for success: Reactions to women who succeed at male gender-typed tasks

Essay by winston182University, Master's March 2007

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Women are subjected to gender-biased evaluations with their performance on male gender-typed tasks often devalued and their competence denied. This result from the inconsistency between stereotypic perceptions of what women is like and the qualities thought necessary to perform a typically male job. The main idea of this article is to demonstrate this phenomenon, to provide insight into why and under what conditions it is likely to occur, and to examine its consequences for how women are evaluated and rewarded in work settings.

Key to their argument is the dual nature of gender stereotypes that not only denote differences in how women and men actually are but also denote norms about behaviours that are suitable for each about how women and men “should be”. Thus behaviours are positively valued for men and typically prohibited for women. Gender stereotypes and the self-fulfilling expectations that they produce prompt bias in evaluations of women.

When a woman is acknowledged to have been successful at performing male gender-typed work, her motivation in achievement situations are inhibited by her fear of disapproval for not being feminine. Or there are penalties for women who violate gender-stereotypic prescriptions by being successful are apt to take the form of social censure and personally directed negativity. It states that success can be costly for women in terms of social approval. Competent women for example as compared with competent men have been depicted as cold and undesirable as fellow group and also as severely wanting interpersonally (e.g. bitter, selfish, devious…).

In their first study, they sought to demonstrate the reactions to women and men on a male gender-typed job when performance on that job was clearly successful rather than ambiguous with regard to performance outcome. They predicted 2 hypothesis:1)In a male gender-typed job, women will be...