Conforming to Male and Female Gender Norms: A Characterisation of Australian University Students


The examination of conformity to social gender norms provides one approach that researchers may adopt to explore gendered selves and the influence of the gendered self in a range of contexts. Two measures that are often used to describe conformity to feminine and masculine social gender norms are the Conformity to Feminine Norms-45 and Conformity to Masculine Norms-46. However, the recommended structure of these instruments is inconsistent amongst the literature. Using Rasch modelling, the current study examines the psychometric properties of these instruments based on responses of both female and male Australian undergraduate university students. A total of 602 participants completed both instruments and the responses analysed to ensure the utility of each instrument to measure conformity to gender norms in the Australian context. An analysis of the transformed responses showed that both females and males show variability in their conformity to both feminine and masculine gender norms. However, differential item functioning showed that females and males differed in their understanding of items from the male and female forms of the inventory, respectively. The results are discussed in terms of the usefulness of each instrument to explain choices and action.

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Correspondence to Kate Lafferty.

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Lafferty, K., Phillipson, S.N. & Jacobs, K. Conforming to Male and Female Gender Norms: A Characterisation of Australian University Students. Gend. Issues 38, 79–99 (2021).

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  • Femininity
  • Gender norms
  • Masculinity
  • Measurement
  • Rasch