Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jennifer K. Bosson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jamie Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sandra Schneider, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diana Rancourt, Ph.D.


Gender Bias, Gender Status Hierarchy, Sexual Division of Labor, Social Dominance, System Justification


Sexism tends to be a culturally accepted form of prejudice. I propose the relatively strong trivialization of societal sexism stems from the unique benefits that men receive from the gender status hierarchy, compared to other types of group-based hierarchies. Three studies examined why people, men in particular, trivialize or justify gender bias in relation to other types of group-based biases. Study 1 was a correlational study that examined whether participants downplay the existence and social harm of gender bias in relation to racial, religious, and sexual orientation bias, moderated by participant gender. Participants reported stronger trivialization and denial of gender bias, compared to other three types of bias. Study 2 experimentally tested whether White men’s justifications for gender bias, in relation to racial bias, stems from the dyadic benefits men receive in interpersonal relationships with women. White men high in proximal benefits reported stronger essentialist justifications in the gender bias, compared to the racial bias condition. Study 3 examined whether heterosexual men, compared to heterosexual women and gay men, endorse stronger justifications for gender bias, compared to sexual orientation bias. Heterosexual men endorsed stronger essentialist justifications in the gender bias, compared to the sexual orientation bias condition. Implications of these findings are discussed.