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Subtle Sexism: Re-informing Intergroup Bias And Regulating Emotion In An Australian Police Organization

Alberto R. Melgoza, Julie Wolfram Cox

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AbstractFrom a liberal feminist perspective, we argue that gender can both inform, and should continue to be informed by, social identity studies in efforts to understand and manage subtle sexism in contemporary workplaces. We investigated the presence of a form of subtle sexism, affective aversive sexism, in an Australian male-dominated organization: a police force. To do this we surveyed 159 policemen and examined relationships between individual emotional experience, emotional intensity and emotion regulation. Results indicated that, in a subtle display of intergroup bias, policemen experienced both higher positive and higher negative emotions in the presence of other policemen than of policewomen who, we argue, may be less central in the men's identities and relationships at work. Implications for research, training, and emotion management in the workplace are discussed and it is suggested that liberal feminist research can contribute much to understanding the dynamics that reproduce structural segregation in the workplace.