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Lesbian, gay and bi people more likely to be politically liberal

A study found that LGB people were more likely to have liberal social justice perspectives; and that this was especially the case for lesbian and bisexual women ‘due to their multiple oppressed identities’.

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We’re more open-minded – politically speaking, that is, and in our attitudes to social issues.

This is according to a study – “‘All the Gays Are Liberal?’ Sexuality and Gender Gaps in Political Perspectives among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Mostly Heterosexual, and Heterosexual College Students in the Southern USA” – done by University of Oklahoma sociologist Meredith Worthen and published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

The study explored sexuality and gender gaps in political perspectives among college students enrolled at a university in the southern US (N = 1,940). Specifically, the study explored sexual identity (lesbian, gay, bisexual, mostly heterosexual, and heterosexual); gender (man/woman); and the intersections among sexual identity and gender as they relate to politicized perspectives (liberal ideology and feminist identity) and support of politicized issues (death penalty and legal abortion).

“It is hypothesized that liberal social justice perspectives may be particularly common among LGB people as a group, and perhaps especially among lesbian and bisexual women due to their multiple oppressed identities,” stated in the study.

And – yes – the results confirmed sexuality gaps (heterosexual-LGB, MH-LGB, and B-LG) as well as gender gaps among MH and LGB students (MH women-MH men, bisexual women-bisexual men, gay men-lesbian women), though some gaps (B-LG and G-L) are in the opposite direction from expected.

In addition, there is evidence of a bisexual woman consciousness that relates to strong liberalism among bisexual college women.

The study also found that those who are “exclusively heterosexual” are “significantly” less likely to be liberal.

So – yes – in a gist: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are more likely to be liberal in their political views and attitudes to social issues.

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Jobs for the boys: How children give voice to gender stereotyped job roles

The research found that for stereotypically male jobs, both sexes spontaneously masculinised their voices, by lowering pitch and resonance, and they also feminised their voices for stereotypically female occupations, by raising their pitch and resonance.

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Children, and especially boys, show stronger stereotyping about masculine and feminine jobs than previously suspected, a study by the University of Sussex reveals.

New research reveals the extent to which girls exaggerated their gendered voices to imitate workers in different professions dropped off at around seven but continues to increase beyond that age with boys.

Boys also used an overtly masculine voice even when imitating workers in gender-neutral roles, the study found.

Research in the field of gender stereotypes usually involves asking study participants what they think about men and women doing different jobs, but there are concerns this can mask people’s true beliefs because their answers may be biased by their desire to conform.

So instead, University of Sussex psychologists tapped into children’s unconscious stereotypes by asking them to speak in the voices of people with different occupations.

The research found that for stereotypically male jobs, both sexes spontaneously masculinised their voices, by lowering pitch and resonance, and they also feminised their voices for stereotypically female occupations, by raising their pitch and resonance.

The academics are advising authors and children’s TV writers to be extra vigilant about associating job roles too strongly with a specific gender, to avoid children associating certain jobs exclusively with a given gender. They also call attention to the voice as an untapped resource to monitor and potentially challenge implicit stereotypes in children.

Dr Valentina Cartei, research fellow at the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology, said: “Our study found that boys were especially likely to accentuate the vocal masculinity or femininity of people doing different jobs. This pattern suggests that children have differential evaluations of males and females engaging in stereotypical and counter-stereotypical occupations.”

If we are to successfully challenge these occupational stereotypes, then as well as having depictions of both male and female nurses, we need occupational role models who vary in vocal masculinity and femininity, such as male nurses with both low and high vocal pitch.

In the study, children between the ages of five and ten took part in a voice production task where they were provided with descriptions of traditionally male, female and gender neutral professions and asked to give voices to people in each of those jobs.

In order to measure children’s beliefs about gender stereotypes using the more conventional approach, the researchers also asked them to complete a questionnaire which asked them directly about men and women carrying out particular job roles.

The researchers created a simple Index of Stereotypicality which they believe could be used to quantify implicit occupational stereotyping in children.

Used alongside software that can extract pitch from the recording of children’s voices, the academics believe the index could be a useful tool for teachers and practitioners interested in challenging stereotypes.

Professor Jane Oakhill said: “The strength of stereotypicality based on vocal pitch revealed stereotypes that were not found in children’s direct responses to the conventional questions about men and women doing different jobs. This suggests that children continue to entertain gender stereotypes even if they are not prepared to say so explicitly.

“If we are to successfully challenge these occupational stereotypes, then as well as having depictions of both male and female nurses, we need occupational role models who vary in vocal masculinity and femininity, such as male nurses with both low and high vocal pitch. Unconscious bias training should also include voice cues to help teachers and parents become aware of and challenge biases about gender stereotypes in relation to particular jobs.”

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Academic achievement is influenced by how pupils ‘do’ gender at school

Pupils’ achievements at school are often shaped by the way that they ‘act out’ specific gender roles, according to a new study which warns against over-generalising the gender gap in education.

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Pupils’ achievements at school are often shaped by the way that they ‘act out’ specific gender roles, according to a new study which warns against over-generalising the gender gap in education.

The study, by researchers at the University of Cambridge, suggests that young people’s attainment is linked to their ideas about what it means to be male or female. Those who defy traditional gender stereotypes appear to do better in the classroom.

Annual GCSE results in the UK, in common with many western countries, typically show that boys lag behind girls academically, but the research argues that this broad pattern masks a more nuanced picture. In particular, the researchers warn that a large sub-group of girls, who conform fairly rigidly to some traditional ‘feminine’ norms, could be academically at-risk. They point out that these girls are often ‘invisible’ in broad surveys of attainment by gender that show girls performing well as a group.

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The researchers examined the English and Maths results of almost 600 GCSE candidates at four schools in England. On average, the girls did significantly better in English, while boys were slightly better at Maths. Girls outperformed boys overall.

But the study then went a step further, analysing sub-groups of boys and girls according to how they expressed their gender identity. This revealed that around half of the girls displayed ‘maladaptive patterns of motivation, engagement and achievement’. By contrast, around two-thirds of boys were motivated, engaged and did well in exams. The pupils’ academic performance corresponded closely to their sense of gender.

Young people’s attainment is linked to their ideas about what it means to be male or female. Those who defy traditional gender stereotypes appear to do better in the classroom.

Dr Junlin Yu, a researcher at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, said: “There has been a lot of justifiable concern about low attainment among boys, but we really need to move on from looking at averages, and ask which specific groups of boys and girls are falling behind. These findings suggest that part of the answer is linked to how pupils ‘do’ gender at school.”

The study asked pupils to complete questionnaires which measured their motivation and engagement, and also examined how far they conformed to certain gender ‘norms’.

These norms were drawn from two widely-used scales that identify the characteristics which people in western countries consider ‘typically’ masculine or feminine. The supposedly ‘masculine’ traits were emotional control, competitiveness, aggression, self-reliance, and risk-taking. The ‘feminine’ traits were thinness, an interest in appearance, concern with relationships, and an inclination towards domesticity.

In reality, most people exhibit a combination of masculine and feminine traits and the researchers found that pupils typically belonged to one of seven gender profiles that blended these characteristics. They classified these as:

  • ‘Resister boys’ (69% of boys): typically resist traditional ideas about masculinity.
  • ‘Cool guys’ (21%): competitive risk-takers, but concerned with appearance and romantic success.
  • ‘Tough guys’ (10%): have an emotionally ‘hard’ image, self-reliant.
  • ‘Relational girls’ (32% of girls): shun appearance norms, comfortable connecting with others emotionally.
  • ‘Modern girls’ (49%): concerned with appearance, but also self-reliant and emotionally distant.
  • ‘Tomboys’ (12%): uninterested in feminine qualities, often regarded as ‘one of the lads.’
  • ‘Wild girls’ (7%): embrace masculine behaviours, but also display an exaggeratedly ‘feminine’ appearance.

These profiles were then cross-referred with the pupils’ GCSE results.

On average, the sample group performed as international trends predict. Girls had an average grade of 6.0 (out of 9) in English, compared with the boys’ average of 5.3. In Maths boys averaged 5.9; slightly higher than the girls’ 5.5.

But the researchers also found strong correlations between the specific gender profiles and patterns of engagement, motivation, and attainment. The two groups who resisted conventional gender norms – resister boys and relational girls – were found to be ‘better academically adjusted’ and typically did well in exams. The lowest overall performers were the ‘cool guys’ and ‘tough guys’.

This significantly affected the average patterns of attainment by gender. In English, for example, relational girls far outperformed all other pupils in the cohort (averaging 6.3), almost single-handedly raising the girls’ average.

Teachers and parents can help by encouraging pupils to feel that they won’t be ridiculed or marginalized if they don’t conform to traditional gender roles. The findings certainly suggest that resistance to stereotypes is fast becoming less the exception, and more the rule.

The ‘modern’ and ‘wild’ girls typically had more mediocre GCSE results. More worryingly, these groups also displayed signs of low engagement and motivation: they gave up easily when faced with difficult tasks, and generally put less effort into their work. Collectively, these girls represented 56% of the total, but their underachievement was partially obscured by the high attainment average for girls.

The study suggests that one reason for the close correspondence between gender profile and academic achievement is that adolescents tend to express strong and inflexible ideas about gender, which influences their attitude towards school. For example, ‘cool guys’, who prize risk-taking and winning, consistently admitted to not trying hard at school – probably because doing so maintained the illusion that they would succeed if they put in more effort.

Attitudes towards gender probably also influence pupils’ engagement with certain subjects. Previous studies have, for example, shown that Maths is often perceived as ‘male’. Tellingly, within the sample, tomboys – girls who rejected ‘feminine’ traits – earned higher grades than the other girls in Maths.

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The study’s main recommendation is that efforts to close the gender gap in attainment need to focus less on ‘girls versus boys’ and more on these nuanced profiles. However, the researchers also suggest that schools could support pupils by encouraging them to think beyond traditional gender stereotypes.

“Among boys in particular, we found that those who resist gender norms were in the majority, but at school it often doesn’t feel that way,” Yu said. “Teachers and parents can help by encouraging pupils to feel that they won’t be ridiculed or marginalized if they don’t conform to traditional gender roles. Our findings certainly suggest that resistance to stereotypes is fast becoming less the exception, and more the rule.”

The research appears in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

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Research from Lenovo & Intel finds that tech could be great equalizer among different cultures

More than half of global respondents say that a company’s diversity and inclusion policies are “extremely” or “very” important when deciding where to apply and whether to accept an offer.

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The first chapter of a new global research report by Lenovo and Intel finds that technology will play an integral role in achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace of the future.  With the power to bridge accessibility gaps, connect people who are otherwise divided, and expand the impact of upskilling and progressive training programs, tech already facilitates the ability to work in more dynamic, flexible ways than ever before.

The joint global study explores how people around the world view D&I in their personal and professional lives, and their perspective on the role technology plays to address systematic inequities, create more access, and enable growth.

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish,” says Lenovo’s Yolanda Lee Conyers, Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Lenovo Foundation. “As the makers of devices that enable connectivity across cultural and geographic boundaries, tech companies like Lenovo have an obligation to ensure that products are created with diverse consumers in mind, and that can only be achieved with a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“Intel has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. We believe that transparency is key, and our goal is to see our representation mirror the markets and customers we serve. Just as we apply our engineering mindset to create the world’s leading technological innovations, we do the same with our D&I strategies, using data to inform our decisions and sharing it transparently to drive clear accountability and deliver results across the industry,” says Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and VP of Social Impact and Human Resources at Intel. “We know that to truly progress D&I, it takes companies working together and being a global company, this work can’t be limited to the US only. That’s why with both companies sharing a rich history of collaboration, we decided to extend our partnership and conduct a global survey.”

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish.”

The findings within the technology chapter suggest that, if a more diverse and inclusive workplace is the goal, technology has the potential to get us there, as it facilitates human connection, understanding, and ultimately, empathy.

The study shows the potential of technology does not come without apprehension, though. Many respondents indicated they worry about whether technology, including AI, could potentially silence or leave behind those historically marginalized or underrepresented. Although participants expressed concerns over the harmful potential of AI, those in emerging markets are most optimistic, with more than 8-in-10 participants across Brazil and China agreeing that AI can be used to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Lenovo and Intel’s Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace study explores the attitudes of approximately 5,096 respondents across five key geographic markets of China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil between December 19, 2019 and January 7, 2020. This chapter focusing on the theme of technology is the first of four total installments. Additional chapters regarding “What Workers Want”, “Modern Mentorship”, and “D&I as a Workplace Trailblazer” are to be announced throughout the remainder of the year.

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52% of LGBT people worried about financial future – study

25% of LGBT people saw their household income fall by half or more due to the pandemic. More than half (56%) of the 18% unemployed cited Covid-19 as the reason for not being employed.

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More than half of people who identify as part of the LGBTQIA community are worried about their financial future. This is according to Prudential’s latest Financial Wellness Census, which found that 52% of LGBT people claimed so.

The study particularly looked at how people are holding up during the Covid-19 pandemic. To do this, the pollsters compared data from December 2019 and May 2020.

It was found that 25% of LGBT people saw their household income fall by half or more due to the pandemic. More than half (56%) of the 18% unemployed cited Covid-19 as the reason for not being employed.

Overall, 51% said that their financial health was negatively impacted by the pandemic, with women, younger generations, small businesses and gig workers disproportionately impacted.

The poll was done in the US, but the effects of Covid-19 on LGBTQIA people – including Filipinos – have already been documented. Locally, for instance, LGBTQIA gig workers lamented the impact of lockdowns; and how government support often exclude them even if they are just-as-in-need of support.

According to Jamie Kalamarides, president of Prudential Group Insurance, the lack of financial resiliency is a threat to democracy. Workers and their families are “under a tremendous amount of stress,” he said. “Covid-19 was the catalyst that lowered the river and showed the rocks that were the underlying causes – lack of accessibility, lack of emergency savings and lack of a path towards sustainable financial wealth. This lack of financial resiliency is a threat to… democracy because without a path toward the middle class that’s available for everybody, our society is at risk. The solution is not to have individuals and their families try to bootstrap themselves up. It’s about fixing the systemic challenges and problems and barriers that cause inequity… With that, we can all have financial resiliency.”

Six demographics were actually polled, and LGBT people had the highest percentage of respondents (25%) who said their household income had fallen by half or more. Gen Xers were at 22%, Millennials 21%, women 19%, men 14%, and Boomers 8%.

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Men ‘less supportive’ in more egalitarian nations

The researchers found, regardless of nationality, that the more men believe in “zero-sum” thinking – that gains for women equate to losses for men – the less they are inclined to support gender equality and are more likely to express attitudes of hostile sexism.

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A new 42-country study has found that the more gender egalitarian the country, the less likely men are to support women’s causes.

The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, was led by Dr Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka from the University of Gdańsk, Poland, and involved a team of experts including Dr Magdalena Zawisza of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), who was a member of the lead research group.

Gender equality benefits both men and women at individual and society levels. It is associated with greater human rights observance, higher levels of happiness and wellbeing, and better physical and mental health, in addition to greater relationship satisfaction and economic benefits, including higher average levels of GDP.

Some men view women as competitors rather than allies, and our research found that men, regardless of their nationality, withdraw their support for gender equality when they think that women’s gains threaten their own status.

The new research is the largest study on this topic ever undertaken, forming part of the Towards Gender Harmony project, and involved 6,734 men from 42 nations ranging from Norway, ranked second out of 153 countries for gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) to Pakistan, ranked 151st.

The researchers found, regardless of nationality, that the more men believe in “zero-sum” thinking – that gains for women equate to losses for men – the less they are inclined to support gender equality and are more likely to express attitudes of hostile sexism.

Counterintuitively, the study also found that the higher the national level of gender egalitarianism, the less men are willing to engage in activities such as signing petitions in favour of workplace gender equality, endorsing gender egalitarian political candidates, and using social media to raise awareness about gender issues. Norway, the Philippines, and Ireland were the most egalitarian countries (according to their GGGI scores) included in this study.

Dr Zawisza, Reader in Consumer and Gender Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Some men view women as competitors rather than allies, and our research found that men, regardless of their nationality, withdraw their support for gender equality when they think that women’s gains threaten their own status.

“What is particularly interesting is that higher levels of gender equality within a country appear to have the effect of demotivating men from supporting gender equality causes. This could be due to a perceived threat to men’s masculinity or men’s belief that women are doing perfectly well on their own and do not need any extra help.

“Although we are seeing more women in senior management and executive roles, globally women earn 21% less than men and hold only 29% of the positions of power. This ‘zero-sum’ thinking, where gains for women equate to losses for men, remains a key barrier to further improvements in equality. Instead, ‘her gain equals his gain’ thinking needs to be promoted if we are to move towards gender harmony.”

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Even if you want to, you can’t ignore how people look or sound

Your perceptions of someone you just met are influenced in part by what they look like and how they sound. But can you ignore how someone looks or how they sound if you’re told it is not relevant?

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Your perceptions of someone you just met are influenced in part by what they look like and how they sound. But can you ignore how someone looks or how they sound if you’re told it is not relevant?

Probably not, at least in most cases, a new Ohio State University study found.

For example, in a study, some participants were shown a photo of a face and heard a brief snippet of speech at the same time and were told that the photo and voice belonged to different people.

In some cases, participants were told to rate how strong an accent they thought the person shown in the photo would have.

Participants thought the person in the photo would have a more accented voice if the words they heard also had a stronger accent – despite being told the image and sound represented two different people.

“Even though we told them to ignore the voice, they couldn’t do it completely,” said study author Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, an associate professor of linguistics at Ohio State. “Some of the information from the voice seeped into their evaluation of the face.”

The same was true when participants were asked to evaluate how “good-looking” the person with a particular voice was – they were influenced by the photo they viewed, even when told it was a different person from the speaker they heard.

Although study participants usually could not ignore the irrelevant information, there was one intriguing exception in which participants feared showing a racial stereotype when it came to gauging accented voices.

The study was published in the Journal of Sociolinguistics.

The study included 1,034 people who visited an exhibit hosted by Ohio State’s Department of Linguistics at the Center of Science and Industry, a science museum in Columbus.

Participants were shown photos of 15 men on a television screen. As each photo was shown, they heard a single-word recording repeated three times over the course of five seconds, also by one of 15 men. Depending on what group they were in, participants had to rate how accented or good-looking the face or the voice was.

Some of the speakers these study participants heard had been rated by people in a previous study as sounding relatively unaccented. Other voices were from people who had learned English at older ages and had been rated as having more of an accent.

When participants evaluated the combined face and voice and were not told to ignore anything, they evaluated “good-looking” mostly based on the face, and “accented” on the voice – as expected.

But some people were told to evaluate the face while ignoring the voice, or evaluate the voice while ignoring the face, because they represented two different people.

In those cases, some people evaluated the face on the “good-looking” dimension and some evaluated the face on the “accented” dimension. The same was true for evaluating the voice. In both cases, they had to ignore the other input, voice or face.

“We found that people could exercise some control over what information to favor, the voice or the face, depending on what we told them to do,” Campbell-Kibler said. “But in most cases, they were unable to entirely eliminate the irrelevant information.”

There was one exception: People were able to completely ignore the face when rating how accented the voice sounded.

Campbell-Kibler said the reason seems to be that the participants, most of whom were White, were being careful not to show any racial stereotyping. “Some of the participants explicitly told us they were attempting to avoid responses that could be seen as stereotypical.”

They knew that how a person looks has no real connection to how they sound, even though racial stereotypes often prompt people to associate strong accents with people who don’t look white.

“They sensed a danger is showing racial bias when it came to evaluating accents. That’s why they were careful to exclude what the face looked like when evaluating if the voice sounded accented,” Campbell-Kibler said. “They didn’t have that issue when evaluating ‘good-looking,’ because that is seen as subjective enough that you can’t really be wrong.”

An earlier study also noted that discrimination happens to men and women who “sound” gay, who are viewed as less competent and less suitable for jobs.

Now, because this more recent study used photographs rather than video, the audio people heard had a stronger influence on them than it might in real life, Campbell-Kibler said. Videos would probably have a stronger effect on people’s evaluations than these still images.

But the main message is the same: We are influenced by all the information we have available, whether it is applicable or not.

“It is hard to ignore socially relevant information your senses perceive, even if we tell you it is not relevant to the task you have right now,” Campbell-Kibler ended.

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