Guest / Limited Access /
The 'Benevolent Sexism' at Christian Colleges
The 'Benevolent Sexism' at Christian Colleges

Women at an evangelical college face a wider gender gap than their counterparts at a secular institution, according to a new study published in Religion and Education. But they're also more satisfied in their jobs than women at secular schools.

Biola University professors Brad Christerson, M. Elizabeth Lewis Hall, and Shelly Cunningham, authors of "Women Faculty at an Evangelical University: The Paradox of Religiously Driven Gender Inequalities and High Job Satisfaction" attribute this paradox to "benevolent sexism" and the high value evangelicals place on personal relationships. Karen Swallow Prior, chair of the department of English and Modern Languages at Liberty University and a regular contributor to Her.meneutics, interviewed the scholars about their findings.

Explain "benevolent sexism" and its role in the study's findings.

Benevolent sexism refers to sexism that is not overtly hostile. In fact, it is often in the context of warm, friendly personal relationships between men and women. This type of sexism undermines opportunities for women through emphasizing the nurturing role of women (particularly in raising children) and the male role as protector of and provider for women.

Many women faculty on the evangelical campus in the study reported feeling undermined at work by implicit assumptions that they should be home with their children, or that the qualities that are valued in academia—intelligence, assertiveness, and confidence—are not traits appropriate for Christian women.

So while women at this university generally report warm friendly relationships with male faculty and students, they also feel limited support for their professional achievement because of traditional gender assumptions. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue
Subscriber Access Only Gleanings: January/February 2017
Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our January/February issue).
RecommendedWomen’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
Women’s March Sets Out to Exclude 40 Percent of American Women
What pro-life feminists actually have in common with their pro-choice counterparts.
TrendingThe Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
The Story Behind Trump’s Controversial Prayer Partner
What Paula White’s Washington moment implies for the prosperity gospel’s future.
Editor's PickThe Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
The Church’s Integrity in the Trump Years
It begins by recognizing the name above every name.
Christianity Today
The 'Benevolent Sexism' at Christian Colleges
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.