Benevolent Sexism

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A subtle form of sexism that comes from a good place and includes positive attitudes toward gender, but can be damaging to people (like women) and gender equality. The language or actions associated are usually subtle, unconscious, and habitual. Examples include:

• Excluding women from certain kinds of work because of assumptions that it might be too stressful or interfere with family commitments.
• Commenting on women’s appearances (even when well-intentioned) in ways that undermine her feelings of being taken seriously.
• When acknowledging women, but only when they fit norms perceived to be gender-appropriate (e.g., nurturing, compassionate, intuitive, empathetic, as opposed to results-oriented, strategic, assertive, professional).