America has finally gotten with the times.
It took 70 years, but women are now seen as being just as competent as men, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
The research, published in American Psychologist, polled more than 30,000 American adults from 1946 to 2018 and looked at their responses to three key traits — communion, agency, and competence. Communion was defined as being compassionate and sensitive and the agency was related to ambition. Competence was based on intelligence or creativity.
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The participants were asked to respond to whether a trait was either truer for women, men, or equal to both.
“Challenging traditional claims that stereotypes of women and men are fixed or rigid, our study joins others in finding stereotypes to be flexible to changes in social roles,” said Alice Eagly, Ph.D., of Northwestern University. “As the roles of women and men have changed since the mid-20th century, so have beliefs about their attributes.”
America’s perception of women has changed drastically. In a poll from 1946, only 35% surveyed thought men and women were equally intelligent, but by 2018, 86% found that both sexes were equally intelligent. Last year, more people believed women were more intelligent compared to men.
“These current stereotypes should favor women’s employment because competence is, of course, a job requirement for virtually all positions. Also, jobs increasingly reward social skills, making women’s greater communion an additional advantage,” said Eagly. “On a less positive note, most leadership roles require more agency than communion. Therefore, the lesser agency ascribed to women than men is a disadvantage in relation to leadership positions.”