People automatically judge men on the basis of their competence, and women on the basis of sociability.
The findings are based on a study that proves that when we see someone in a concrete social context, the qualities associated with competence such as efficacy, motivation, intelligence and their antonyms, are more activated when we judge men or women in their traditional roles i.e. the man in an office as a leader and the woman as a housewife.
However, the qualities related to sociability (kindness, understanding, sensibility and their antonyms) are notably more activated in counter-stereotype contexts (a man doing the housework and a woman as a leader).
Furthermore, women react at an emotional level, judging men more negatively when they are in their traditional roles, whereas it changes significantly when they play counter-stereotype roles
"It would be interesting to develop the possible uses of prejudice as a strategy for social change and a way to observe if women do not only react negatively to maintain gender equality but also develop positive behavioural strategies to promote social equality," the researchers said.
According to the scientists, the study may involve significant practical implications in the prevention of stereotypes and prejudices towards disadvantaged groups.
The study is published in 'Psicologica' journal.