Daily sexism often goes unnoticed

June 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM
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MARBURG, Germany, June 21 (UPI) -- Daily acts of sexism go unnoticed by both men and women, researchers in the United States and Germany say.

Julia C. Becker of Philipps University Marburg in Germany and Janet K. Swim of Pennsylvania State University say nearly everyone can recognize the stereotypical scene of construction workers catcalling women as sexist, but people tend to overlook the more subtle daily acts of sexism such as calling women "girls" but not calling men "boys."

"Women endorse sexist beliefs, at least in part, because they do not attend to subtle, aggregate forms of sexism in their personal lives," Becker and Swim said in a statement. "Many men not only lack attention to such incidents but also are less likely to perceive sexist incidents as being discriminatory and potentially harmful for women."

For women it is important to "see the unseen" acts of sexism, whereas, for men, it is additionally important to be encouraged to feel empathy for others, the researchers said.

The findings are published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.

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