'Eves benefit more from role models'
For women having role models provides a means of undermining stereotypes, says a study.india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 13:31 IST
A new study has found that women benefit more than men from having same-gender examples of success, and that having a female role model with a similar career path can boost a woman's self esteem.
Dr Penelope Lockwood, who led the two-part study, said that for women having role models of the same gender was important because it provided a means of undermining stereotypes that might otherwise threaten career performances.
"Female role models may not only be a useful example for women who are attempting to determine their potential for future achievement, they also may provide a means of undermining stereotypes that might otherwise threaten their career performance," she said.
In the first part of the study the impact of gender matched and mismatched career models on self-perception was assessed.
For this, individuals were given an article that described a male or female professional who had graduated from the same university as the reader seven years ago and had just recently won an alumni award for outstanding career achievements in the field the reader was planning on working in. They then completed a questionnaire about themselves.
It was found that female participants were more inspired by female than male role models while men were not differentially affected by the gender of the model.
In the second study, female and male participants were asked to describe a role model that inspired them and say if that model's gender affected their choice.
It was found that more than 63 per cent of women selected a woman as their academic or occupational model, and many of the study's female participants noted that it was important to see someone who illustrates having overcome gender barriers and stereotypes. And though roughly 75 per cent of men were also more likely to select someone of the same gender as their occupational model, men did not report that gender was a deciding or influential factor.
The study is published in the latest issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly.