Eagly and her colleagues examined public opinion polls representing the views of more than 30,000 adults from 1946 to 2018, looking specifically at how they rated communion (compassion, sensitivity, warmth); agency (ambition, aggression, assertiveness); and competency (intelligence, organization, creativity) along gender lines.
In 1946, 35 percent of people thought men and women were equally intelligent. In 1995, 43 percent thought so. Last year, 86 percent believed men and women were equally intelligent. And those who favored one sex over the other thought women were smarter.
As Eagly told me, this represents “massive social change.” Part of that, she said, has to do with the fact that for many years, we simply didn’t see examples of women leading — not as journalists, not as scientists and not as politicians.