Sexist attitudes reinforce gender inequality, but, are they absent on Women’s Day? This research examines the extent to which, in some contexts, Women’s Day can activate sexist attitudes that reinforce structural inequalities between men and women. Based on ambivalent sexism theory, we propose that people are more likely to agree with benevolent sexist attitudes on Women’s Day than on any other day. In Study 1 (N=190) we measured sexist attitudes on Women’s Day and then one month later. We found that participants asked on Women’s Day reported more benevolent sexism than participants asked a month later. Benevolent sexism was stronger on Women’s Day for men (who scored higher for both hostile and benevolent sexism than women). In order to establish causality, in Study 2 (N=175) we used an experimental paradigm in which we made Women’s Day more salient (against the control condition). Results showed that participants assigned to the Women’s Day experimental condition indicated more support for benevolent sexist attitudes than those assigned to the control condition and again (men scored higher on both dimensions of sexism across both conditions). This research provides evidence of the potential unintended effects of International Women’s Day and the challenges that women still face.
Quiroga-Garza, A., Moreno-Bella, E., Matamoros-Lima, J. A., & Willis, G. B. (2021). ‘Congratulations for your day’: benevolent attitudes during March 8 in Mexico. Journal of Gender Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2021.1910802