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Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace: Obstacles to Women's Career Progress

Social Psychology of Gender

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1430-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-496-6

ISSN: 0882-6145

Publication date: 26 June 2007


This chapter focuses on the implications of both the descriptive and prescriptive aspects of gender stereotypes for women in the workplace. Using the Lack of Fit model, we review how performance expectations deriving from descriptive gender stereotypes (i.e., what women are like) can impede women's career progress. We then identify organizational conditions that may weaken the influence of these expectations. In addition, we discuss how prescriptive gender stereotypes (i.e., what women should be like) promote sex bias by creating norms that, when not followed, induce disapproval and social penalties for women. We then review recent research exploring the conditions under which women experience penalties for direct, or inferred, prescriptive norm violations.


Heilman, M.E. and Parks-Stamm, E.J. (2007), "Gender Stereotypes in the Workplace: Obstacles to Women's Career Progress", Correll, S.J. (Ed.) Social Psychology of Gender (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 47-77.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited