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
RecommendedUnder DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
Under DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
The future of public education will depend on the church.
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
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.