Stockholm university

Marie Gustafsson SendénAssociate Professor

About me

As a social psychologist my reserch areas focus gender, languge and gender equality (beyound the binary) at work.  For example, how gender diversity interventions influence potential candidates’ reactions to gender diversity interventions in personnel selection, or what types of gender diversity interventions that leads to the best working climate. (

In language studies, I assess social psychology phenomema by linguistic behaviour. I have used personal pronouns to study processes like self- and group serving biases as well as gender stereotypes. In current research projects, we investigate how a gender-neutral pronoun (hen) influence gender perceptions, identities and stereotypes ( I have developed an experimental task to test how people spontaneously use pronouns which has been used successfully both to assess self- and group serving biases as well as gender stereotyping.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Women´s and men´s experiences with participative decision making at workplace and organisational levels

    2023. Clara Plückelmann (et al.).


    Participative decision-making (PDM) refers to the involvement of both employees and managers in decision-making processes, allowing them to provide input on work-related or organizational matters. Evaluating gender equality in decision-making power is important for organizations, as it impacts various work-related outcomes.This study examined gender differences in PDM in Swedish organizations. In this study, the focus was on direct PDM at the workplace and organizational levels.The study involved a large nationally representative survey in Sweden with 10,500 participants from different types of occupations. The results revealed that women perceived themselves to be less influential at the organizational level, while no gender differences were found at the individual workplace level.

    Read more about Women´s and men´s experiences with participative decision making at workplace and organisational levels
  • Migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees: Different labels for immigrants influence attitudes through perceived benefits in nine countries

    2023. Sylvie Graf (et al.). European Journal of Social Psychology


    The world is witnessing the highest level of displacement of people on record. Public discourse often uses labels to describe people on the move such as ‘migrants’, ‘asylum seekers’, or ‘refugees’ interchangeably. A preregistered study in nine countries (Australia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; N = 2844) tested experimentally the effect of these three labels on attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policies. We found a significant difference between the label ‘migrant’ and both ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ on the social distance scale. Participants were happier if migrants, rather than asylum seekers and refugees, were their neighbours, friends, or partners. The effect was mediated by perceived benefits, but not threats, whereby migrants were perceived to bring more benefits to receiving societies than asylum seekers and refugees. To increase the acceptance of immigrants, speakers may consider specifying the given group and emphasize benefits that immigrants bring to receiving societies.

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  • Language and gender: Computerized text analyses predict gender ratios from organizational descriptions

    2023. Lotta Stille (et al.). Frontiers in Psychology 13


    Previous research has shown that language in job adverts implicitly communicates gender stereotypes, which, in turn, influence employees’ perceived fit with the job. In this way, language both reflects and maintains a gender segregated job market. The aim of this study was to test whether, and how, language in organizational descriptions reflects gender segregation in the organizations by the use of computational text analyses. We analyzed large Swedish companies’ organizational descriptions from LinkedIn (N = 409), testing whether the language in the organizational descriptions is associated with the organizations’ employee gender ratio, and how organizational descriptions for organizations with a majority of women and men employees differ. The statistical analyses showed that language in the organizational descriptions predicted the employee gender ratio in organizations well. Word clouds depicting words that differentiate between organizations with a majority of women and men employees showed that the language of organizations with a higher percentage of women employees was characterized by a local focus and emphasis on within-organizations relations, whereas the language of organizations with a higher percentage of men employees was characterized by an international focus and emphasis on sales and customer relations. These results imply that the language in organizational descriptions reflects gender segregation and stereotypes that women are associated with local and men with global workplaces. As language communicates subtle signals in regards to what potential candidate is most sought after in recruitment situations, differences in organizational descriptions can hinder underrepresented gender groups to apply to these jobs. As a consequence, such practices may contribute to gender segregation on the job market.

    Read more about Language and gender
  • Gendered Self-Views Across 62 Countries: A Test of Competing Models

    2023. Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka, Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Magdalena Żadkowska. Social Psychology and Personality Science 14 (7), 808-824


    Social role theory posits that binary gender gaps in agency and communion should be larger in less egalitarian countries, reflecting these countries’ more pronounced sex-based power divisions. Conversely, evolutionary and self-construal theorists suggest that gender gaps in agency and communion should be larger in more egalitarian countries, reflecting the greater autonomy support and flexible self-construction processes present in these countries. Using data from 62 countries (N = 28,640), we examine binary gender gaps in agentic and communal self-views as a function of country-level objective gender equality (the Global Gender Gap Index) and subjective distributions of social power (the Power Distance Index). Findings show that in more egalitarian countries, gender gaps in agency are smaller and gender gaps in communality are larger. These patterns are driven primarily by cross-country differences in men’s self-views and by the Power Distance Index (PDI) more robustly than the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI). We consider possible causes and implications of these findings. 

    Read more about Gendered Self-Views Across 62 Countries
  • Gender Gap in Parental Leave Intentions: Evidence from 37 Countries

    2023. Maria I. T. Olsson, Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Sarah E. Martiny. Political Psychology


    Despite global commitments and efforts, a gender-based division of paid and unpaid work persists. To identify how psychological factors, national policies, and the broader sociocultural context contribute to this inequality, we assessed parental-leave intentions in young adults (18–30 years old) planning to have children (N = 13,942; 8,880 identified as women; 5,062 identified as men) across 37 countries that varied in parental-leave policies and societal gender equality. In all countries, women intended to take longer leave than men. National parental-leave policies and women's political representation partially explained cross-national variations in the gender gap. Gender gaps in leave intentions were paradoxically larger in countries with more gender-egalitarian parental-leave policies (i.e., longer leave available to both fathers and mothers). Interestingly, this cross-national variation in the gender gap was driven by cross-national variations in women's (rather than men's) leave intentions. Financially generous leave and gender-egalitarian policies (linked to men's higher uptake in prior research) were not associated with leave intentions in men. Rather, men's leave intentions were related to their individual gender attitudes. Leave intentions were inversely related to career ambitions. The potential for existing policies to foster gender equality in paid and unpaid work is discussed.

    Read more about Gender Gap in Parental Leave Intentions
  • Are Gender-Neutral Pronouns Really Neutral? Testing a Male Bias in the Grammatical Genderless Languages Turkish and Finnish

    2022. Emma A. Renström (et al.). Journal of language and social psychology


    Languages differ in how grammatically salient gender is. We explored if grammatically gender-neutral pronouns in Finnish and Turkish, two grammatically genderless languages, are gender neutral or male biased, thereby activating male, rather than female, exemplars. We also tested whether differences in national level gender equality influence the male bias. Results indicated a male bias in both languages, whereas national level gender equality had no influence. Implications for gender-fair language reforms in grammatically genderless languages are discussed. 

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  • Gender diversity in recruitment: Influence of gender trouble on applicant attraction and evaluation

    2022. Amanda Klysing (et al.). Journal of Applied Social Psychology 52 (8), 781-802


    The current research addresses gender trouble (acts that question the naturalness of a binary gender system) in two parts of the recruitment situation: applicant attraction and evaluation. Experiment 1 (N = 1,147) investigated how different Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statements in an organization description influenced organizational evaluations. The EEO statements emphasized gender as binary (women and men), gender as diverse (multi-gender), or gender as irrelevant (de-gender; compared with no EEO statement). Gender minority participants experienced decreased identity threat in response to the multi-gendered and the de-gendered EEO statements, which increased organizational attractivity. There was no significant effect of EEO statement for gender majority participants. Multi-gendered and de-gendered EEO statements increased perceived gender diversity within the organization. Experiment 2 (N = 214) investigated how applicants with a normative or non-normative gender expression were evaluated by HR-specialists. Applicants with a non-normative gender expression were rated as more suitable for the position and recommended a higher starting salary than applicants with a normative gender expression. Women with a non-normative gender expression were rated as more likely to be employed than men with a non-normative gender expression, while women applicants regardless of gender expression were rated as the most likely to acquire the position. This research indicates that gender minorities can be explicitly included in EEO statements without negative impact on gender majority groups and with a positive impact on gender minority groups. Furthermore, a non-normative gender expression was not found to be a cause for biased evaluations in an initial recruitment situation.

    Read more about Gender diversity in recruitment
  • How trans and gender non-conforming people are represented in online news media.

    2022. Sofia Elena Bracco, Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Sabine Sczesny.


    Trans and gender non conforming (TGNC) people represent one of the most marginalized groups in society and their unemployment rates are three times higher than cisgender people’s average. Cisgender people tend to derive stereotypes and mental representations of TGNC individuals from the media since they lack direct contact with them. Media coverage can therefore work as parasocial contact and improve or worsen people’s attitudes towards minorities. This study analyzes the way TGNC people are represented in online news media across 3 countries that vary in their ranking on LGTBT rights: the UK (11/49 European states for achieved LGBTI rights, Sweden (9/49), and Italy (35/49).

    Read more about How trans and gender non-conforming people are represented in online news media.
  • The multiple meanings of the gender-inclusive pronoun hen: Predicting attitudes and use

    2022. Emma A. Renström, Anna Lindqvist, Marie Gustafsson Sendén. European Journal of Social Psychology 52 (1), 71-90


    The Swedish gender-inclusive pronoun hen can be used generically (referring to anyone), or specifically (referring to non-binary gender identities). Three studies tested evaluations and use of hen, and individual-level predictors. In Study 1 (N = 2145), specific hen was slightly favoured over generic hen. In Study 2 (N = 297), hen was more negatively evaluated than binary pronouns, and generic hen was more positively evaluated than specific hen. In Study 3 (N = 450), hen was less frequently used compared to binary pronouns overall but preferred in generic contexts. Traditionalism mainly predicted attitudes towards generic hen and beliefs about gender, as binary mainly predicted attitudes towards specific hen, although the pattern varied across studies. Because hen was preferred in generic contexts, but not in specific ones, this work has implications for understanding the non-acceptance of non-binary gender identities since the traditional binary notion of gender still is strong.

    Read more about The multiple meanings of the gender-inclusive pronoun hen
  • Pronouns Beyond the Binary

    2021. Marie Gustafsson Sendén, Emma Renström, Anna Lindqvist. Gender & Society 35 (4), 588-615


    Gender-inclusive language, such as the Swedish pronoun hen, may aid in breaking a binary notion of gender and avoid sexism. The present study followed the implementation of a gender-inclusive third-person pronoun singular (hen) in Swedish in two surveys with representative samples in 2015 (at the time when hen was introduced in the official Swedish dictionary; N = 1212) and in 2018 (N = 2009). The surveys comprised measures of attitudes toward, and use of, hen as well as possible predictors such as area of residence, age, preferred pronoun, political orientation, and interest in gender issues. Results showed that attitudes toward hen became more positive and that use of hen increased between 2015 and 2018. About half of the population used hen in their communication in 2018, which is a 14-percentage-point increase from 2015. Younger age, she or hen as preferred pronoun, political left-wing orientation, and interest in gender issues predicted a more positive attitude and a more frequent use. Furthermore, the positive change between 2015 and 2018 was larger among younger people, indicating that hen will remain in the Swedish language. The present research is unique in that it follows a gender-fair language initiative during its implementation in representative samples, thereby providing insights for social movements aiming for gender-fair language. We also discuss the theoretical implications of a gender-inclusive pronoun in comparison with past studies on gender-fair language.

    Read more about Pronouns Beyond the Binary
  • Psychometric Properties and Correlates of Precarious Manhood Beliefs in 62 Nations

    2021. Jennifer K. Bosson (et al.). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 52 (3), 231-258


    Precarious manhood beliefs portray manhood, relative to womanhood, as a social status that is hard to earn, easy to lose, and proven via public action. Here, we present cross-cultural data on a brief measure of precarious manhood beliefs (the Precarious Manhood Beliefs scale [PMB]) that covaries meaningfully with other cross-culturally validated gender ideologies and with country-level indices of gender equality and human development. Using data from university samples in 62 countries across 13 world regions (N = 33,417), we demonstrate: (1) the psychometric isomorphism of the PMB (i.e., its comparability in meaning and statistical properties across the individual and country levels); (2) the PMB's distinctness from, and associations with, ambivalent sexism and ambivalence toward men; and (3) associations of the PMB with nation-level gender equality and human development. Findings are discussed in terms of their statistical and theoretical implications for understanding widely-held beliefs about the precariousness of the male gender role.

    Read more about Psychometric Properties and Correlates of Precarious Manhood Beliefs in 62 Nations

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