It’s been scientifically proven: sexism pays—literally. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that men who favour traditional roles for women earn up to almost $12,000 more a year than those who believe in equality.
Researchers at the University of Florida interviewed participants from 50 states four times between 1979 and 2005 (the study started with 12,686 people; there was a 60 per cent retention rate). They asked them how much they agreed with five statements: a woman’s place is in the home; a wife with a family has no time for outside work; an employed wife leads to delinquent children; it’s best that a man be the breadwinner; a woman is happiest at home caring for kids.
Not only do sexist men make more than progressive ones, “traditional women make the least amount of money,” says author Beth Livingston—$1,500 less a year than women with egalitarian views. What’s surprising is that even when researchers controlled for education, job type and number of hours worked, the results were the same.
Chauvinism may equal big bucks for males for two reasons, says Livingston: traditional men may be aggressive and good at negotiating high salaries. On the flip side, “men who are sticking up for female counterparts may be penalized—it’s called the gender backlash effect,” she explains. Meanwhile, traditional females may bring down progressive ones by confirming the stereotype that women don’t want to work, Livingston adds.
If you think the more money you make the more likely you’ll be to adopt conservative views, guess again. The most traditional beliefs were found among the youngest participants, those 14 to 22 years old, long before they were high on the payroll. The good news: chauvinism dissipated with age.