Experiences with Benevolent Sexism Scale

Experiences with Benevolent Sexism Scale is a 25 item scale that captures women's experience with benevolent sexism.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


Heterosexual Intimacy (HI)

1. You have been put on a pedestal by your romantic partner?
2. You have been told that your love "completes" your partner?
3. Romantic partners praised your ability to take care of their emotional needs?
4. Romantic partners expected you to please them through physical intimacy?
5. You have been made to feel that you "owed" a date something after being taken out to an expensive restaurant or event?
6. You experienced your date act in a way that protected you from being harassed by other people?
7. You have been on a date and your date makes the decision where to go for dinner?
8. Others assumed that you will sacrifice your needs if it benefits your romantic partner in some way?
9. Your date asked you out, rather than you asking out your date?
10. Others provided you with financial support (e.g., assist with bills, pay for vacation, buy drinks, pay for dates, etc.)?

Complementary Gender Differentiation (CGD)
11. People assumed that you will interrupt your career or educational plans to take care of family needs (such as a sick family member or provide childcare)?
12. You been told that you are (or will be) a good mother because you are so caring?
13. You have been advised to consider a career or job that allows the time to also be a good mother?
14. You have been praised for performing domestic tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of small children?
15. People have expected you to display "purity" in your behaviors?
16. People have assumed that you have strong "morals" simply because you are a woman?
17. You have been informed that as a woman, you have a more refine sense of culture and tastes than do men?

Protective Paternalism (PP)
18. People questioned your ability to handle situations by yourself?
19. A man felt the need to explain a topic to you that you were already very knowledgeable about?
20. A man felt the need to tell you how you should run your life, do your job, etc.?
21. You have been prohibited from doing something because others (such as parents or romantic partners) thought that you might get hurt?
22. Men insisted on lifting or carrying heavy things for you, even when you didn’t ask or need the help?
23. People reminded you to look for a romantic partner who can provide financially?
24. People said that you need to be protected or have a "protector" in your life?
25. You have been offered an escort, even though you didn’t feel it was necessary, when walking alone at night?

Response Options

Participants completed the items for frequency of experiences in the last year and across their lifetime ranging from 1 (the event never happened) to 6 (the event happened almost all of [>70%] the time), as well as appraised the stress associated with the experience, using a scale from 1 (not at all stressful) to 6 (very stressful).

Participants also rated how sexist they believed the event to be from 1 (not at all sexist) to 6 (very sexist)

Scoring Procedures

Mean scores were computed for each subscale such that higher numbers indicated increased frequency, distress, and perception of sexism.

Original Citation

Oswald, D. L., Baalbaki, M., & Kirkman, M. (2018). Experiences with benevolent sexism: Scale development and associations with women’s well-being. Sex Roles, 80(5-6), 362-380.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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