The Effect of Counter-Stereotypes on Attitudes Toward Gender and LGBT Equality

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Can exposure to counter-stereotypes about gender roles improve people’s attitudes toward gender equality and LGBT rights? Previous work suggests that gender stereotypes contribute to inequitable attitudes, but there is lack of empirical evidence on whether undermining such stereotypes enhance equitability. We conducted four survey experiments to test whether counter-stereotypical information about gender roles increase equitable attitudes toward women and sexual minorities. The experiments (a) examine stereotypes and attitudes in both political and non-political domains, (b) manipulate stereotypes about men as well as women, and© provide visual in addition to textual stimuli. We consistently find null results. We show that the null findings are unlikely to be because of ceiling or demand effects and that there is no evidence of subgroup effects. Moreover, using data on female clergy in the Church of England and the British Election Study, we show null effects in a non-experimental context. The paper provides important scholarly and policy implications for efforts to shift voter attitudes in more gender- and LGBT-equitable directions.