The different social roles that men and women play are based on the sexual division of labor and, according to social role theory, these role differences lead to differences in the behaviors of males and females. The division of labor and the status hierarchy of gender result from differences in reproduction and in the physical size and strength of women and men (Wood & Eagly, 1999), with differences typically favoring men (Eagly, Wood, & Diekman, 2000). Differences in position and power lead to differences in gender roles which include both beliefs and expectations (Cialdini & Trost, 1998) about what men and women do. Because women more frequently assume the domestic role, characteristics assumed to exemplify homemakers are stereotypically ascribed to women in general. Similarly, characteristics thought to typify providers are ascribed to men in general (Eagly et al., 2000). Cultural expectations promote conformity to gender roles and influence perceptions of masculinity and femininity in oneself and others. Indeed, gender stereotypes are often used to justify differential sex role assignment (Hoffman & Hurst, 1990; Jost & Banaji, 1994; Williams & Best, 1990a).
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