What does individual gender ideology depend on?

Kairi Kasearu

The article attempts to analyse to what extent attitudes towards gender-stereotyped behaviour or, in other words, gender ideology, vary in Estonian society. In striving towards gender equality we need to consider not only people’s behaviour and legal regulations directing their activities, but also the characteristics of gender ideology and the extent to which it varies. Thee analysis of the European Social Survey results from 2008 demonstrates that gender ideology varies between women and men, but also in terms of ethnicity and age. Men and women of active working age were more supportive of men’s and women’s equal opportunities on the labour market than younger people only entering the labour market or older people leaving the labour market. The gap in the attitudes of young men and women can partly be explained by structural conditions or greater competition for work places, which may encourage gender-stereotyped thinking. For young people the development of an adult identity is strongly associated with employment and independent income. Thus, young men express gender-stereotyped values in which they see breadwinner and family support roles as central to male identity.