Alabama is the third-most sexist state, researchers say

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[Photo Credit: ALToday.com]

Alabama is the third-most sexist state in the nation, following behind only Arkansas and Utah, according to a new index of sexist attitudes developed by economists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and National University Singapore.

Sexism, as Merriam-Webster defines it, is “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.”

To measure the prevalence of sexist beliefs, Kerwin Kofi Charles and his colleague focused on responses from only eight questions on attitudes toward gender issues that have been part of the survey since the 1970s, ranging from whether or not they agreed with the statement that “Women should take care of running their home and leave running the country up to men” to “A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work.” They even asked if the respondent would ever vote for a female president, and whether or not they believe men are “better suited emotionally” for politics.

They mapped the responses to create a geographic overview of sexism in America.

Geography of Sexism_via WaPo
State-level prevalence of sexist beliefs. [Photo Credit: Christopher Ingraham | The Washington Post]

Sexist attitudes are highest in Arkansas, followed by Utah, then Alabama, West Virginia and Tennessee. Meanwhile New Hampshire, Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont and Connecticut residents display the lowest levels of sexism in the country.

“Sexism is highest in the Southeast and least extreme in New England and the West,” wrote Charles and his colleagues. “The figure shows that there is substantial variation in mean sexism across states within each geographic region of the country.”