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The End of the Gender Revolution? Gender Role Attitudes from 1977 to 20081

After becoming consistently more egalitarian for more than two decades, gender role attitudes in the General Social Survey have changed little since the mid-1990s. This plateau mirrors other gender trends, suggesting a fundamental alteration in the momentum toward gender equality. While cohort replacement can explain about half of the increasing egalitarianism between 1974 and 1994, the changes since the mid-1990s are not well accounted for by cohort differences. Nor is the post-1994 stagnation explained by structural or broad ideological changes in American society. The recent lack of change in gender attitudes is more likely the consequence of the rise of a new cultural frame, an “egalitarian essentialism” that blends aspects of feminist equality and traditional motherhood roles.