Are the Processes Underlying Discrimination the Same for Women and Men? A Critical Review of Congruity Models of Gender Discrimination

Sophie Bierly

Although classic congruity models of gender discrimination (e.g., role congruity theory,
lack of fit) predict negative outcomes for both women and men in gender-incongruent
domains, the literature has focused almost exclusively on discrimination against women.
A number of recent studies have begun to address the question of whether and under
what circumstances men can also be the targets of gender discrimination. However, the
results of these studies have so far been mixed. Therefore, the question of whether men,
like women, also suffer discrimination when in gender incongruent roles and domains
remains unclear. The goal of the present paper is to integrate and critically examine
the burgeoning literature on gender discrimination against men in order to assess
whether the symmetrical predictions of congruity models are supported. Through this
close analysis and integration of the literature, I aim to identify remaining gaps in the
research on gender discrimination. In particular, I propose that researchers of gender
discrimination would benefit from expanding their scope beyond that of paid work.