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The Women and Peace Hypothesis? The Effect of Opponent Negotiators' Gender on the Evaluation of Compromise Solutions in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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The "women and peace" hypothesis refers to the tendency of women to hold more peaceful and compromising attitudes than men. We hypothesized that common gender stereotypes that portray women as less aggressive and as more cooperative and considerate than men will cause a gendered evaluation effect, in which: (1) a compromise proposal offered by female opponents in peace negotiations will be valued more favorably, as more beneficial to ones' own side and as less beneficial to the opponents' side, in comparison to the same proposal when offered by male opponents; (2) female opponent negotiators offering the compromise proposal will be perceived as significantly higher in warmth and trustworthiness and as significantly lower in assertiveness than male opponent negotiators offering the same proposal. These effects were researched in the context of the protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. An experimental study examined the effect of national identity (Israeli vs. Palestinian) and gender (female vs. male) of negotiators offering a compromise proposal – aimed at resolving the conflict – on Jewish-Israeli evaluations of the proposal. The findings were consistent with the hypothesized gendered evaluation effect.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel


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