An Exploration of Women’s Experiences of Sexism in the UK

Prof Doc Thesis

Takala, T. 2018. An Exploration of Women’s Experiences of Sexism in the UK. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsTakala, T.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

It is well documented that sexism is a common experience for women with potentially deleterious effects on their wellbeing. The evidence base pertaining to women’s experience of sexism has prioritised hypotheticoIdeductive methods for inquiry, seeking to test existing theories and determine relationships between psychological correlates. It is possible that these studies do not fully encompass the variety of ways in which women can experience sexism, and risk deIcontextualising what is effectively a social phenomenon. In response, this study adopted a qualitative exploration into the social and psychological processes by which women experience sexism. The aim was to provide fresh and inIdepth understandings of the phenomenon, and prioritise the voices of women in the production of theories pertaining to them. The study resulted in a grounded theory model of Establishing and Policing the Gender Order, which captures two interrelated processes: (1) Reinforcing Inferiority, whereby women are “brainwashed” into accepting their lower social standing, and (2) Punishing Transgression, referring to the normIenforcing processes which penalise women who violate the gender order. The theory also included processes related to Coping with Sexism, indicating feminist identity development as key in helping women to withstand and resist sexism. This study counteracts the postI feminist rhetoric by drawing attention to the ways in which women can be restricted by the patriarchal power structures persisting in contemporary society. These findings can assist clinical psychologist in better serving the needs of female clients and inform policyIlevel advocacy to end women’s oppression.
Further feminist and intersectional research is needed to ensure a continued dialogue.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
OnlineMay 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Dec 2019
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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