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Sexist Ideology and Endorsement of Men's Control over Women's Decisions in Reproductive Health

Petterson, Aino, Sutton, Robbie M. (2018) Sexist Ideology and Endorsement of Men's Control over Women's Decisions in Reproductive Health. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 42 (2). pp. 235-247. ISSN 0361-6843. E-ISSN 1471-6402. (doi:10.1177/0361684317744531) (KAR id:64272)

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Feminist scholars have argued that men’s control over women’s reproductive autonomy is a central feature of male dominance. Building on recent research that shows sexist ideology informs support for restricting women’s reproductive autonomy, we examined the relation of sexism and the belief that men should be able to restrict the behavior of women. Study 1 (N = 366 undergraduate psychology students in the United Kingdom) and Study 2 (N = 281 Amazon MTurk workers in the United States), showed that controlling for various demographics and ideological measures (e.g., right-wing authoritarianism, support for abortion rights), hostile sexism was related to support for men having the right to prevent their pregnant partner from having an abortion. Further, hostile sexism was also related to the endorsement of men’s right to withdraw financial support for the child if a woman chooses not to terminate her pregnancy. Hostile sexism was also uniquely related to support for men’s right to veto their female partner’s decisions during pregnancy and childbirth. The present studies show that hostile sexism is associated with perceptions that men have the right to constrain women’s reproductive choices. Our findings highlight the adverse pressures on women’s reproductive autonomy, including sexist ideology, and may suggest that practitioners should be mindful of this when assisting women in discussing reproductive questions. Further, by creating awareness about the different factors that shape the perception of men’s role in reproductive decisions, sexual health educators could potentially help affirm women’s autonomy in reproductive health.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0361684317744531
Uncontrolled keywords: sexism, reproductive health, pregnancy, abortion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Robbie Sutton
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 09:19 UTC
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 03:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Sutton, Robbie M.:
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