Sexism refers to attitudes and behaviors based on sex stereotypes, or cultural assumptions attached to being male or being female that disadvantage and discriminate against individuals on the basis of sex. Central to sexism are beliefs that men and women have inherently and essentially different traits. Manifested in socialization, interactions, and institutions, these beliefs maintain differences between men and women, affecting individuals in many different ways. This entry begins by reviewing common stereotypes based on gender, then examines the consequences for women, and briefly summarizes discrimination against men.

Sex Stereotypes

Studies find that widely held gender beliefs exist in the United States. In general, these beliefs hold that women are more communal and men are more agentic. Accordingly, women are often believed to be more competent ...

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