A Critical Review of Measures of Gender Equitable Attitudes: Recommendations for Conceptualization and Future Assessment

2024  Journal Article

A Critical Review of Measures of Gender Equitable Attitudes: Recommendations for Conceptualization and Future Assessment


This paper provides a critical review of the measurement of gender equitable attitudes (GEA), highlighting the evolution of these measures, the challenges in defining and measuring GEA, and the need for updated and inclusive measures that reflect contemporary understandings of gender and equity.


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Some key findings of the study:

Diversity of Measures

The study identified 38 unique measurement approaches to assessing Gender Equitable Attitudes (GEA) across 69 studies. These approaches were categorized into three groups: measures with development origination studies, unique measures for single studies, and measures from large-scale studies.

Historical Context

The measurement of GEA has evolved over time, particularly as women's participation in the labor force increased from the late 1960s through the 1980s. Early measures often reflected societal unease towards women's employment, but more recent measures have added nuance and breadth, covering domains such as political participation and access to higher education.

Seven Dimensions of GEA Measurement

The study leveraged critiques from recent reviews to identify seven dimensions for assessing existing GEA measures: definition of GEA, inclusion of life domains, target age, sample demographics, psychometric properties, number of items, and assumptions of gender binary or heterosexuality.

Conceptual and Operational Definitions

There was a wide variety of approaches to conceptualizing and labeling GEA-related constructs, with some studies lacking a clear articulation and theoretical grounding of a definition of GEA.

Life Domains

The study found that existing measures predominantly focus on labor participation and the gendered division of labor, with less clarity on how other life areas such as intimate relationships, education, political participation, legal rights, and day-to-day public life are reflected in GEA measures.

Developmental Appropriateness

The target age covered by existing GEA measures may be limited, and there is a need to evaluate GEA across the life span in meaningful ways that capture key stages of transition shaped by gender.

Generalizability and Utility

An assessment of the range of national and sample demographics covered by existing measurement approaches is needed to evaluate the generalizability of findings on GEA, as well as the utility of measures across contexts.

Psychometric Properties

The study emphasized the importance of revisiting and evaluating the psychometric properties of existing measures, given the complexity of ideas encompassed by gender equity and the need for reliable, valid, and coherent measures of cross-national/cultural relevance.

Recommendations for Future Research

The study provides recommendations for future directions on the measurement of GEA in research, suggesting that updated and inclusive measures are needed to reflect contemporary understandings of gender and equity.


Gender equality is a global priority that has yet to be realized. The factors that shape individuals’ ideas about, or attitudinal commitment to, gender equity has been the focus of much research. In this body of literature, however, gender equitable attitudes (GEA) have been labeled, defined, and measured in many ways. Using literature identified in an earlier review of predictors of gender equitable attitudes among men, the goals of this review are to: 1) describe the range of ways that GEA were defined, labeled, and measured inclusive of seven dimensions drawn from existing literature; 2) identify strengths and gaps in the measures reflected in this review as well as assess the need for the refinement and expansion of our conceptualization of GEA to include broader contexts in which these attitudes play out; and 3) provide a compendium of measures to serve as a resource for scholars conducting GEA research. Across 69 studies that met inclusion criteria, 38 unique measures assessing GEA were included in this review. We describe these measures with respect to the conceptual and operational definitions of GEA, life domains captured in the GEA measures, target demographics, psychometric and validity evidence, and the conceptualization of gender within the measures. Following this analysis, we use the data extracted in each of the seven dimensions to make recommendations for future measures of GEA and considerations when assessing GEA.

Hoxmeier, J.C., Casey, E.A., Carlson, J., Willey-Sthapit, C.(2024)A Critical Review of Measures of Gender Equitable Attitudes: Recommendations for Conceptualization and Future AssessmentSex Roles