Cross-National Variation in the Size of Sex Differences in Values: Effects of Gender Equality

Shalom H. Schwartz*, Tammy Rubel-Lifschitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations


How does gender equality relate to men's and women's value priorities? It is hypothesized that, for both sexes, the importance of benevolence, universalism, stimulation, hedonism, and self-direction values increases with greater gender equality, whereas the importance of power, achievement, security, and tradition values decreases. Of particular relevance to the present study, increased gender equality should also permit both sexes to pursue more freely the values they inherently care about more. Drawing on evolutionary and role theories, the authors postulate that women inherently value benevolence and universalism more than men do, whereas men inherently value power, achievement, and stimulation more than women do. Thus, as gender equality increases, sex differences in these values should increase, whereas sex differences in other values should not be affected by increases in gender equality. Studies of 25 representative national samples and of students from 68 countries confirmed the hypotheses except for tradition values. Implications for cross-cultural research on sex differences in values and traits are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)171-185
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • gender equality
  • national differences
  • sex differences
  • values


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