Gender and Double Standards for Competence

  • Martha Foschi


Gender inequality in interaction takes many forms and is maintained by various processes. For example, men and women frequently differ in the amount of competence that is assigned to them and in the emotional reactions they receive when they attempt to occupy leadership positions. Moreover, women who do achieve such positions often have difficulties exerting influence. For instance, they tend to be perceived as aggressive whereas men exhibiting the same behavior are seen as decisive. In addition, there are usually differences in the types of personality characteristics that men and women are expected to exhibit (e.g., women are expected to be more sensitive than men). There are also gender differences in the rules specifying what degree of informality is acceptable in a given situation.


Status Characteristic Task Group American Sociological Review Status Generalization Double Standard 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berger, J., Fisek, M.H., Norman, R.Z., & Zelditch, M., Jr. (1977). Status characteristics and social interaction: An expectation-states approach. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  2. Berger, J., Rosenholtz, S.J., & Zelditch, M., Jr. (1980). Status organizing processes. Annual Review of Sociology, 6, 479–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berger, J., Wagner, D.G., & Zelditch, M., Jr. (1985). Introduction—expectation states theory: Review and assessment. In J. Berger & M. Zelditch, Jr. (Eds.), Status, rewards, and influence: How expectations organize behavior (pp. 1–72 ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, J., Wagner, D.G., & Zelditch, M., Jr. (1989). Theory growth, social processes, and metatheory. In J.H. Turner (Ed.), Theory building in sociology: Assessing theoretical cumulation (pp. 19–42 ). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Blalock, H.M., Jr. (1979). Black-white relations in the 1980’s: Toward a long-term policy. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  6. Calzavara, L. (1988). Trends and policy in employment opportunities for women. In J. Curtis, E. Grabb, N. Guppy and S. Gilbert (Eds.), Social inequality in Canada: Patterns, problems, policies (pp. 287–300 ). Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall Canada.Google Scholar
  7. Colwill, N., & Lips, H.M. (1988). Issues in the workplace. In H.M. Lips (Ed.), Sex and gender: An introduction (pp. 292–315 ). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  8. Deaux, K. (1984). From individual differences to social categories: Analysis of a decade’s research on gender. American Psychologist, 39, 105–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deaux, K. (1985). Sex and gender. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 49–81. Deschamps, J.C. (1983). Social attribution. In J. Jaspars, F.D. Finchman, & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Attribution theory and research: Conceptual, developmental and social dimensions (pp. 223–240 ). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Deutsch, F.M., Zalenski, C.M., & Clark, M.E. (1986). Is there a double standard of aging? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 771–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dornbusch, S.M., & Scott, W.R. (1975). Evaluation and the exercise of authority. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  12. Eichler, M. (1977). The double standard as an indicator of sex-status differentials. Atlantis, 3, 1–21.Google Scholar
  13. Eichler, M. (1980). The double standard: A feminist critique of feminist social science. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  14. Eichler, M. (1988). Nonsexist research methods: A practical guide. Boston: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  15. Epstein, C.F. (1970a). Woman’s place: Options and limits in professional careers. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Epstein, C.F. (1970b). Encountering the male establishment: Sex-status limits on women’s careers in the professions. American Journal of Sociology, 75, 965982.Google Scholar
  17. Epstein, C.F. (1973). Bringing women in: Rewards, punishments, and the structure of achievement. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 208, 62–70.Google Scholar
  18. Epstein, C.F. (1975). Tracking and careers: The case of women in American society. In E.L. Zuckerman (Ed.), Women and men: Roles, attitudes and power relationships (pp. 26–34 ). New York: Radcliffe Club.Google Scholar
  19. Epstein, C.F. (1981). Women in law. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Evan, W.M. (Ed.). (1971). Organizational experiments: Laboratory and field research. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  21. Foddy, M., & Graham, H. (1987). Sex and double standards in the inference of ability. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C.Google Scholar
  22. Foddy, M., & Smithson, M. (1989). Fuzzy sets and double standards: Modeling the process of ability inference. In J. Berger, M. Zelditch, Jr., & B. Anderson (Eds.), Sociological theories in progress: New formulations (pp. 73–99 ). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Foschi, M. (1986). Actors, observers, and performance expectations: A Bayesian model and an experimental study. Advances in Group Processes: A Research Annual, 3, 181–208.Google Scholar
  24. Foschi, M. (1989). Status characteristics, standards, and attributions. In J. Berger, M. Zelditch, Jr., & B. Anderson (Eds.), Sociological theories in progress: New formulations (pp. 58–72 ). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Foschi, M. (1990). Double standards in the evaluation of men and women. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, Vancouver, B.C.Google Scholar
  26. Foschi, M., & Foddy, M. (1988). Standards, performances, and the formation of self-other expectations. In M. Webster, Jr. & M. Foschi (Eds.), Status generalization: New theory and research (pp. 248–260, 501–503 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Foschi, M., & Foschi, R. (1976). Evaluations and expectations: A Bayesian model. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 4, 279–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Foschi, M., & Foschi, R. (1979). A Bayesian model for performance expectations: Extension and simulation. Social Psychology Quarterly, 42, 23 2241.Google Scholar
  29. Foschi, M., & Freeman, S. (1991). Inferior performance, standards, and influence in same-sex dyads. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 23, 99113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Foschi, M., Lai, L., & Sigerson, K. (1991). Double standards in the assessment of male and female job applicants. Paper presented at the West Coast Conference on Small Group Research, San Jose, CA.Google Scholar
  31. Foschi, M., & Plecash, J. (1983). Sex differences in the attribution of success and failure: An expectation-states explanation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, Vancouver, B.C.Google Scholar
  32. Foschi, M., Warriner, G.K., & Hart, S.D. (1985). Standards, expectations, and interpersonal influence. Social Psychology Quarterly, 48, 108–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Giele, J.Z. (1988). Gender and sex roles. In N.J. Smelser (Ed.), Handbook of sociology (pp. 291–323 ). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Goldberg, P. (1968). Are women prejudiced against women? Transaction, 5, 28–30.Google Scholar
  35. Hansen, R.D., & O’Leary, V.E. (1985). Sex-determined attributions. In V.E. O’Leary, R.K. Unger, & B.S. Wallston (Eds.), Women, gender, and social psychology (pp. 67–99 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  36. Harvey, J.H., & Weary, G. (1984). Current issues in attribution theory and research. Annual Review of Psychology, 35, 427–459.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harvey, O.J. (1953). An experimental approach to the study of status relations in informal groups. American Sociological Review, 18, 357–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Heider, F. (1944). Social perception and phenomenal causality. Psychological Review, 51, 358–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hewstone, M., & Jaspars, J. (1982). Intergroup relations and attribution processes. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Social identity and intergroup relations (pp. 99–133 ). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Higgins, E.T., Strauman, T. & Klein, R. (1986). Standards and the process of self-evaluation: Multiple affects from multiple stages. In R.M. Sorrentino & E.T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (pp. 23–63 ). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  41. Howard, J.A. (1990). A sociological framework for cognition. Advances in Group Processes: A Research Annual, 7, 75–103.Google Scholar
  42. Humphrey, R. (1985). How work roles influence perception: Structural-cognitive processes and organizational behavior. American Sociological Review, 50, 24 2252.Google Scholar
  43. James, W. (1981). [Originally published in 18901. The principles of psychology, Vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Kanter, R.M. (1977a). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  45. Kanter, R.M. (1977b). Some effects of proportions on group life: Skewed sex ratios and responses to token women. American Journal of Sociology, 82, 965–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kelley, H.H., & Michela, J.L. (1980). Attribution theory and research. Annual Review of Psychology, 31, 457–501.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Latham, G.P., & Yukl, G.A. (1975). A review of research on the application of goal setting in organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 18, 824–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lee, T.W., Locke, E.A, & Latham, G.P. (1989). Goal setting theory and job performance. In L.A. Pervin (Ed.), Goal concepts in personality and social psychology (pp. 291–326 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  49. Lewin, K., Dembo, T., Festinger, L., & Sears, P.S. (1944). Level of aspiration. In J.M. Hunt (Ed.), Personality and the behavior disorders (Vol. 1, pp. 333–378 ). New York: Ronald Press.Google Scholar
  50. Lips, H.M. (1988). Sex and gender: An introduction. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.Google Scholar
  51. Locke, E.A., Shaw, K.N., Saari, L.M., & Latham, G.P. (1981). Goal setting and task performance: 1969–1980. Psychological Bulletin, 90, 125–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lockheed, M.E. (1985). Sex and social influence: A meta-analysis guided by theory. In J. Berger and M. Zelditch, Jr. (Eds.), Status, rewards, and influence: How expectations organize behavior (pp. 406–429 ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  53. Lockheed, M.E., & Hall, K.P. (1976). Conceptualizing sex as a status characteristic: Applications to leadership training strategies. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 111–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lott, B. (1985). The devaluation of women’s competence. Journal of Social Issues, 41, 43–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Maslin, A., & Davis, J.L. (1975). Sex role stereotyping as a factor in mental health standards among counselors-in-training. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 22, 87–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McArthur, L.Z. (1985). Social judgment biases in comparable worth analysis. In H.I. Hartmann (Ed.), Comparable worth: New directions for research (pp. 53–70 ). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  57. McDill, E.L., Natriello, G., & Pallas, A.M. (1986). A population at risk: Potential consequences of tougher school standards for student dropouts. American Journal of Education, 94, 135–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Meeker, B.F., & Weitzel-O’Neill, P.A. (1977). Sex roles and interpersonal behavior in task-oriented groups. American Sociological Review, 42, 91–105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Moore, J.C., Jr. (1968). Status and influence in small group interactions. Sociometry, 31, 47–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Moore, J.C., Jr. (1969). Social status and social influence: Process considerations. Sociometry, 32, 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Natriello, G., & Dornbusch, S.M. (1984). Teacher evaluative standards and student effort. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  62. Natriello, G., & McDill, E.L. (1986). Performance standards, student effort on homework, and academic achievement. Sociology of Education, 59, 18–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Nielsen, J.M. (1990). Sex and gender in society: Perspectives on stratification ( 2nd ed. ). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  64. Nieva, V.F., & Gutek, B.A. (1980). Sex effects on evaluation. Academy of Management Review, 5, 267–276.Google Scholar
  65. Olson, J.M., & Ross, M. (1985). Attribution research: Past contributions, current trends, and future prospects. In J.H. Harvey & G. Weary (Eds.), Attribution: Basic issues and applications (pp. 281–311 ). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  66. Paludi, M.A., & Strayer, L.A. (1985). What’s in an author’s name? Differential evaluations of performance as a function of author’s name. Sex Roles, 12, 353–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pugh, M.D., & Wahrman, R. (1983). Neutralizing sexism in mixed-sex groups: Do women have to be better than men? American Journal of Sociology, 88, 746–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Ridgeway, C.L. (1982). Status in groups: The importance of motivation. American Sociological Review, 47, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ridgeway, C.L. (1988). Gender differences in task groups: A status and legitimacy account. In M. Webster, Jr. & M. Foschi (Eds.), Status generalization: New theory and research (pp. 188–206, 495–497 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Ross, M., & Fletcher, G.J.O. (1985). Attribution and social perception. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 73–122 ) New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  71. Sears, D.O., Freedman, J.L., & Peplau, L.A. (1985). Social psychology ( 5th ed. ). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  72. Sherif, M., White, B.J. & Harvey, O.J. (1955). Status in experimentally produced groups. American Journal of Sociology, 60, 370–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sohn, D. (1982). Sex differences in achievement self-attributions: An effect-size analysis. Sex Roles, 8, 345–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sontag, S. (1972, September 23). The double standard of aging. Saturday Review, 29–38.Google Scholar
  75. Stewart, P. (1988). Women and men in groups: A status characteristics approach to interaction. In M. Webster, Jr. & M. Foschi (Eds.), Status generalization: New theory and research (pp. 69–85, 484–486 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Tudor, W., Tudor, J., & Gove, W.R. (1979). The effect of sex role differences on the social reaction to mental retardation. Social Forces, 57, 871–886.Google Scholar
  77. Wagner, D.G. (1988). Gender inequalities in groups: A situational approach. In M. Webster, Jr. & M. Foschi (Eds.), Status generalization: New theory and research (pp. 55–68, 480–484 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Wagner, D.G., Ford, R.S., & Ford, T.W. (1986). Can gender inequalities be reduced? American Sociological Review, 51, 47–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wallston, B.S., & O’Leary, V.E. (1981). Sex makes a difference: Differential perceptions of women and men. In L. Wheeler (Ed.), Review of personality and social psychology (pp. 9–41 ). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Webster, M., Jr., & Driskell, J.E., Jr. (1978). Status generalization: A review and some new data. American Sociological Review, 43, 220–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Webster, M., Jr., & Entwisle, D.R. (1976). Expectation effects on performance evaluations. Social Forces, 55, 493–502.Google Scholar
  82. Webster, M., Jr., & Foschi, M. (1988). Overview of status generalization. In M. Webster, Jr. & M. Foschi (Eds.), Status generalization: New theory and research (pp. 1–20, 477–478 ). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Whitley, B.E., Jr., McHugh, M.C., & Frieze, I.H. (1986). Assessing the theoretical models for sex differences in causal attributions of success and failure. In J.S. Hyde & M.C. Linn (Eds.), The psychology of gender: Advances through meta-analysis (pp. 102–135 ). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Wiley, M.G. (1986). How expectation states organize theory construction. Contemporary Sociology, 15, 338–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zander, A., & Cohen, A.R. (1955). Attributed social power and group acceptance: A classroom experimental demonstration. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 490–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zelditch, M., Jr. (1969). Can you really study an army in the laboratory? In A. Etzioni (Ed.), A sociological reader on complex organizations ( 2nd ed., pp. 528–539 ). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha Foschi

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations