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Allies against sexism: the impact of men’s egalitarian versus paternalistic confrontation on women’s empowerment and well-being

Estevan-Reina, L. and de Lemus, S. and Megías, J.L. and Kutlaca, M. and Belmonte-García, M. and Becker, J. (2021) 'Allies against sexism: the impact of men’s egalitarian versus paternalistic confrontation on women’s empowerment and well-being.', Sex roles., 84 . pp. 536-553.


Men as advantaged group members can be involved in actions against inequality. But how do women experience men’s confrontation of sexism? We examine how women perceive men’s egalitarian versus paternalistic confrontation of sexism. We hypothesized that women would be more likely to report empowerment and well-being (i.e., more happiness and less anger) after egalitarian confrontation than after paternalistic confrontation, which should increase their future intention to confront sexism. Using hypothetical scenarios, the results of three studies conducted in Spain, Germany, and Mexico confirmed our hypotheses. They also highlighted that empowerment (but not happiness) triggered by egalitarian confrontation, as well as anger triggered by paternalistic confrontation, lead women to express greater future intention to confront sexism. Our findings suggest that male confronters motivated by egalitarian reasons are more likely perceived as allies of women because they not only make women feel better but also empower them to keep fighting. Further, women may react against men motivated by paternalistic reasons (especially if they are strongly identified as feminist or endorse low benevolent sexist beliefs). Implications for activists, policymakers, and practitioners who are interested in involving men in fighting gender inequality are discussed.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of a journal article published in Sex roles. The final authenticated version is available online at:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:23 October 2020
Date of first online publication:07 October 2020
Date first made open access:07 October 2021

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