Volume 38 - Article 35 | Pages 967–1016  

Navigating between two cultures: Immigrants' gender attitudes toward working women

By Léa Pessin, Bruno Arpino


Background: Gender attitudes toward women’s employment are of particular importance because they positively influence gender-equal outcomes in the labor market. Our understanding of the mechanisms that promote egalitarian gender attitudes among immigrants, however, remains limited.

Objective: By studying first- and second-generation immigrants from multiple origins and living in different countries, this article seeks to explain under what conditions the prevalent cultural attitudes toward gender roles at the origin and destination influence immigrants’ gender attitudes. We address three main research questions. First, does the country-of-origin gender ideology influence immigrants’ views toward working women? Second, does the country-of-destination gender ideology influence immigrants’ views toward working women? And third, are these relationships moderated by (1) the immigrant generation; (2) the age at arrival in the country of destination; (3) the length of residence at the destination?

Methods: Using data from the European Social Survey, we model immigrants’ gender attitudes toward working women by using linear cross-classified models to account for clustering into the country of origin and destination.

Results: The results highlight the importance of the context of early socialization in shaping immigrants’ gender attitudes. First-generation immigrants, and more specifically adult migrants, hold gender attitudes that reflect more strongly the country of origin’s gender culture. In contrast, the positive association between gender ideology at destination and immigrants’ gender attitudes is stronger among second-generation immigrants and child migrants.

Contribution: We add to the literature on gender ideology formation by analyzing the influence of gender ideology at the origin and destination levels on the gender attitudes of immigrants from 96 countries of origin and residing across 32 countries of destination.

Author's Affiliation

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