Who women are, who women should be: Descriptive and Prescriptive Gender Stereotyping in Sex Discrimination

Diana Burgess, Eugene Borgida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

254 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors discussed the ways in which the distinction between the descriptive and prescriptive components of gender stereotypes may provide a context for thinking about the role of gender stereotyping in sex discrimination and sexual harassment. They reviewed the research literature involving the descriptive and prescriptive components of gender stereotypes, with particular emphasis on research published since the American Psychological Association's 1991 amicus brief in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989). They suggested that incidents of sex discrimination that involve disparate treatment are more likely to reflect the prescriptive component of gender stereotypes and that incidents of sex discrimination that result in disparate impact are more likely to reflect the descriptive component. The authors discussed the implications of this distinction for sex discrimination and sexual harassment litigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-692
Number of pages28
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1999

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