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Separating Spheres? Diverging Trends in Youth’s Gender Attitudes about Work and Family.

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Pepin, Joanna R. Cotter, David A.
Journal Article
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The authors investigated whether trends in attitudes about gender were consistent with the gender stall primarily occurring in the family domain and examined potential mechanisms associated with changing gender norms. Using data from Monitoring the Future surveys (1976–2015), the authors assessed three components of trends in youth's beliefs about gender: the marketplace, the family, and mothers' employment. Findings showed continued increases in egalitarianism from 1976 through the mid-1990s across all three dimensions. Thereafter, support for egalitarianism in the public sphere plateaued at high levels, rising support for mothers' employment persisted at a slower pace, and conventional ideology about gender in families returned. The changing demographic composition of American high school students did not account for the gender attitude trends. Youth's mothers' employment and increased education were related to increased egalitarianism. Changes in population averages of mothers' employment and educational attainment were only weakly associated with increases in egalitarian attitudes. (Author abstract)

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