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Beliefs About the Nature of Sex/Gender and Ethnic Inequality

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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This research examines five lay explanations of the nature of sex/gender inequality - supernatural, genetic, individualistic, cultural, and social - and empirically links these beliefs to lay theories about the nature of ethnic inequality. Using data from a sample of Dutch metropolitan residents, it was found that supernatural, genetic and individualistic explanations of men-women differences are strongly related and that all correlate negatively with a social and a cultural view. The findings also showed that beliefs about sex/gender inequality and beliefs about ethnic inequality are remarkably similar; the greater the acceptance, for example, of a genetic or supernatural explanation of men-women inequality, the greater the likelihood of a genetic and supernatural belief about ethnic inequality. Significant relationships were observed between lay beliefs and church membership, education, age, sex-role traditionalism and Christian belief. No differences in explanations were found between male and female respondents.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Science Research Methods, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands; 2: Netherlands Institute of Care and Welfare, The Netherlands; 3: Department of Political Sciences, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands


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