Adolescent and adult reasoning about gender roles and fairness in Benin, West Africa

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This study examined reasoning about gender roles in a traditional society in Benin, West Africa. Ninety-seven male and female adolescents and adults evaluated conflicts between a husband and a wife over gender norms to determine whether gender norms are judged to be moral or conventional. Although most attributed decision-making power to the husband, justifications and evaluations that supported challenges to traditional gender roles indicate that social roles were seen as alterable conventions. In addition, concerns with punishment of one spouse were associated with endorsing the other spouse as decision-maker, indicating that endorsements of authority may be coerced. Very few age differences were found, indicating that adults are not more enculturated into an acceptance of hierarchy than adolescents. However, adults were more likely than adolescents to perceive coercion.

Cognitive Development, 28 (24)
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Clare Conry-Murray
Associate Professor of Psychology

My research interests include social development, including moral development, gender development and culture.