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Wed Jul 27, 2016, 09:32 AM

Why ‘woman’ isn’t Hillary Clinton’s trump card

Source: The Conversation, by Cecilia Hyunjung Mo

According to some polls, parents can already tell their daughters that people will vote for a female president, and gender should not factor into Secretary Clinton’s candidacy for the highest office in this country. While America has not ever had a woman president, polls have documented that the majority of Americans have been ready to vote for a woman for president for several decades.

It’s also possible that that many voters are not even aware of their gender bias. I call such individuals “aversive sexists” – individuals who avoid acting in a sexist manner and genuinely regard themselves as gender-equitable. And yet, they unintentionally possess negative feelings and beliefs about women as leaders. In other words, the sexist attitudes of aversive sexists are buried in their subconscious.

Most of us are aversive sexists to some degree because the implicit associations we possess in our subconscious develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at an early age. Exposure to direct and indirect messages from your family, friends, the media, schools, books and society at large affect these associations. Because of the prominence of male leaders in powerful roles, perceptions that social roles differ for men and women, traditional social roles for men versus women, and pervasive gender stereotypes, if you do not slow down and think about a decision at hand carefully, gender bias can influence your decision.

Examples of women in power can also go a long way. It will help when parents can actually point to a real life example of a female U.S. president when they tell their daughter “you can be anything you want to be, even president of the United States.” And not simply because children benefit from role models. Given that exposure is an important determinant of implicit associations, hidden bias will increasingly become an artifact of the past if there are simply more images of women in positions of leadership.

Much more at: http://theconversation.com/why-woman-isnt-hillary-clintons-trump-card-60498

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