Class, gender, and parental values in the 1990s

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Previous research documents a persistent relationship between social class and parental values. Middle-class parents are more likely to emphasize autonomy, and working-class parents are more likely to stress conformity in children. More recent literature, however, suggests a gender difference in the effects of class on values. Feminist scholarship also claims a gender gap in fundamental value orientations. Drawing data from the U.S. sample in the World Values Survey, this research examines the intersections of class and gender as they influence parental values in the 1990s. The findings suggest that while social class continues to be a source of the valuation of autonomy and conformity in children, gender also conditions parental values. Specifically, women in advantaged social positions value autonomy much more than their male counterparts. Contrary to feminist theory, however, gender is not linked to care-oriented values. Sources and implications of the findings are discussed.


This article was originally published in Gender and Society. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Gender and Society


© 2000 Sociologists for Women in Society