Attitudes toward Women Scale – Short Version

Attitudes toward Women Scale – Short Version is a 25-item self-report measure of individual attitudes toward gender ideologies, based on the Attitudes toward Women Scale (AWS) (Spence & Helmreich, 1972). The measure lists various gender-specific statements and asks respondents to rate their level of agreement. Different aspects of gender ideologies captured by the scale include a woman’s role in the household and in society, son-preference, property rights, and leadership competency.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. Swearing and obscenity are more repulsive in the speech of a woman than of a man.*
2. Women should take increasing responsibility for leadership in solving the intellectual and social problems of the day.
3. Both husband and wife should be allowed the same grounds for divorce.
4. Telling dirty jokes should be mostly a masculine prerogative.*
5. Intoxication among women is worse than intoxication among men.*
6. Under modern economic conditions with women being active outside the home, men should share in household tasks such as washing dishes and doing the laundry.
7. It is insulting to women to have the “obey” clause remain in the marriage service.
8. There should be a strict merit system in job appointment and promotion without regard to sex.
9. A woman should be as free as a man to propose marriage.
10. Women should worry less about their rights and more about becoming good wives and mothers.*
11. Women earning as much as their dates should bear equally the expense when they go out together.
12. Women should assume their rightful place in business and all the professions along with men.
13. A woman should not expect to go to exactly the same places or to have quite the same freedom of action as a man.*
14. Sons in a family should be given more encouragement to go to college than daughters.*
15. It is ridiculous for a woman to run a locomotive and for a man to darn socks.*
16. In general, the father should have greater authority than the mother in the bringing up of children.*
17. Women should be encouraged not to become sexually intimate with anyone before marriage, even their fiances.*
18. The husband should not be favored bv law over the wife in the disposal of family property or income.
19. Women should be concerned with their duties of childbearing and house tending, rather than with desires for professional and business careers.*
20. The intellectual leadership of a community should be largely in the hands of men.*
21. Economic and social freedom is worth far more to women than acceptance of the ideal of femininity which has been set up by men.
22. On the average, women should be regarded as less capable of contributing to economic production than are men.*
23. There are many jobs in which men should be given preference over women in being hired or promoted.*
24. Women should be given equal opportunity with men for apprenticeship in the various trades.
25. The modern girl is entitled to the same freedom from regulation and control that is given to the modern boy.

Response Options:
Agree strongly - 3
Agree mildly - 2
Disagree mildly - 1
Disagree strongly - 0

*Items 1, 4, 5, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 22, and 23 are reverse coded (i.e. agree strongly = 0 and disagree strongly = 3)

Scoring Procedures

Each item is scored on a scale from 0 to 3, with 0 reflecting the most traditional response and 3 the most pro-feminist response.

Original Citation

Spence, J. T., Helmreich, R., & Stapp, J. (1973). A short version of the Attitudes toward Women Scale (AWS). Bulletin of the Psychonomic society, 2(4), 219-220.

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Formative Research

Qualitative Research

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Field Expert Input

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