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24-01-2020 | Issue 1/2020

Social Justice Research 1/2020

Neoliberalism: An Ideological Barrier to Feminist Identification and Collective Action

Journal:
Social Justice Research > Issue 1/2020
Authors:
Lola Girerd, Virginie Bonnot
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Abstract

Even though gender inequality is ubiquitous, not all women get involved in remedial collective action. We hypothesize that neoliberal ideology, which emphasizes individual responsibility, free choice, competition, and meritocracy, undermines women’s feminist identification and collective action. In the first experimental study (n = 159), and consistent with the hypotheses, women primed with meritocracy identified less as feminists, perceived remedial collective action as being less important, and were less likely to ask for information regarding these actions in comparison with women who were not primed with meritocracy. Importantly, feminist identification mediated the effect of meritocracy priming on both perceived importance of collective action and the choice to be exposed to information about feminist collective action. A second correlational study (n = 232), relying on a multi-dimensional measure of neoliberal ideology and a behavioral measure of collective action, revealed that, as hypothesized, endorsing neoliberal beliefs was related to more gender system justification, less feminist identification, and less collective action in favor of women (i.e., sending a message to their elected member of parliament asking them to denounce sexist advertisements). The mediation models of Study 1 were supported in Study 2.

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