Background. Gender inequality continues to reproduce itself in hidden and ambivalent forms and leads to invisible barriers in women's careers and lives. The authors were interested in how social perceptions of gender differences would relate to the maintenance of gender inequality in various spheres of life.
Objective. The purpose of the presented research was to study social perceptions of gender differences in relation to the subjective significance of the gender inequality issue.
Design. The study was conducted via an online survey throughout February-September of 2019. The sample included 106 people aged 18 to 68 (M = 30.2, σ = 10.5), 49% of respondents were women. The authors have developed and tested a questionnaire assessing the adherence to ideas regarding evident gender differences in various spheres of life. The reliability of all scales of the questionnaire has been tested. Respondents also completed a questionnaire identifying their perceptions of gender inequality and shared their life experience with respect to this phenomenon in the form of free description.
Results. The following two latent factors reflecting different aspects of gender perceptions have been identified: “Career Inequality” and “Differences in Social Spheres”. Indicators of the subjective significance of gender inequality (which include gender awareness, frequency of gender inequality witnessing, personal experience of gender discrimination and the emotional significance of this experience) were positively correlated with perceptions of career inequalities (these support ideas regarding gender differences when it comes to opportunities for professional realization) and negatively correlated with perceptions of differences within social spheres (these support ideas regarding the existence of essential gender differences within the family, politics and everyday life).
Conclusion. Articulation of personal experiences of gender inequality is associated with social perceptions of the absence of essential gender differences in various social domains (egalitarianism) and sensitivity to gender inequality with regards to career opportunities.
Keywords: Gender differences/ gender inequality/ social perceptions of gender differences/ traditionalism/ egalitarianism