The Attitudes Toward Women Scale (AWS), developed by Janet T. Spence and Robert Helmreich in the early 1970s, measures attitudes about the rights and roles of women—relative to men—in occupational, educational, and relational domains. As an attitude measure focusing on gender roles, the AWS assesses opinions about the behavioral patterns deemed appropriate for men and women in society. Examples include believing that men should be more responsible for supporting their families, whereas women should be more responsible for nurturing their children.

Spence and Helmreich created versions of the AWS with 55 items, 25 items, and 15 items, which were published in 1972, 1973, and 1978, respectively. Sample items on the AWS are as follows: “There are many jobs in which men should be given preference ...

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