Beliefs About Women Scale (BAWS)


In the last couple of decades, researchers have become increasingly interested in examining the many facets of gender stereotypes. One particular area on which attention has been focused concerns “stereotypic” beliefs about women. The 16-item self-report Beliefs About Women Scale BAWS is used in the investigation of women’s and men’s personal functioning, cognitive activity, and interpersonal relationships.


For psychometrics, see article: Snell, W. E., Jr. & Godwin, L. (1993).  Social reactions to depictions of casual and steady acquaintance rape:  The impact of AIDS exposure and stereotypic beliefs about women.  Sex Roles, 29, 599-616.

Author of Tool:

Snell, W. E., Jr. & Godwin, L.

Key references:

Snell, W. E., Jr. & Godwin, L. (1993).  Social reactions to depictions of casual and steady acquaintance rape:  The impact of AIDS exposure and stereotypic beliefs about women.  Sex Roles, 29, 599-616. Snell, W. E., Jr., Holtzman, W., Jr., Belk, S. S., Garcia, R., & Hernandez, J. E. (1990).  The influence of counseling orientation and culture on mental health standards for women and men.  International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14, 73-88. Belk, S. S., & Snell, W. E., Jr. (1989).  Stereotypic beliefs about women as moderators of stress-distress relationships.  Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 665-672. Belk, S. S., Snell, W. E., Jr., Holtzman, W. H., Jr., Garcia-Falconi, R., & Hernandez-Sanchez, J. E. (1989).  The impact of ethnicity, nationality, therapy orientation, and mental health standards on stereotypic beliefs about women:  A pilot study. Sex Roles, 21, 671-695. Belk, S. S., & Snell, W. E., Jr. (1986).  Beliefs about women: Components and correlates.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 12, 403-412. Belk, S. S., & Snell, W. E., Jr. (1986).  The Beliefs About Women Scale (BAWS):  Scale development and validation. Social and Behavioral Sciences Documents, 16, 10.  Hampton, B., Lambert, F., & Snell, W. E., Jr. (1986).  Therapists’ conceptions of mentally healthy beliefs for women and men.  Journal of Rational – Emotive Therapy, 4, 107-124.

Primary use / Purpose:

An assessment of attitudes and beliefs towards women.

Beliefs About Women Scale (BAWS)

INSTRUCTIONS: The statements listed below describe attitudes toward men and women which different people have. There are no right or wrong answers, only opinions. Indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement, using the following scale:

  • A = Strongly Disagree.
  • B = Slightly Disagree.
  • C = Neither agree nor disagree.
  • D = Slightly Agree.
  • E = Strongly Agree.
  1. Women are less dominating than
  2. Women are more passive than men
  3. Women are more vulnerable than men
  4. Women can deal with their emotions better than men
  5. Women are more interpersonally concerned than
  6. Women are less career motivated than
  7. Women are inferior to men in their cognitive
  8. Men can make decisions easier than
  9. Women don't generally like to be active in their sexual
  10. Women are not very responsible during their menstrual
  11. Women are more concerned with their physical appearance than men
  12. Women like to tease men
  13. Women set the standards for moral
  14. Women are more frivolous than
  15. Women tend to pout if they don't get their
  16. Women are more competitive than
  17. Women comply more often than men
  18. Men are more excitable in a major crisis than women
  19. Women are more emotional than
  20. Men cannot relate to other persons as well as women
  21. Women care as much as men do about developing a job
  22. Men are superior to women in
  23. Women are more self-reliant than
  24. Most women don't like to express their
  25. When they are on their periods, women are easily
  26. Men are as conceited about their appearance as women
  27. Women use seductive behavior to lead men
  28. Women should be treated with great
  29. Women are more likely than men to act in silly
  30. Withholding favors is one of the primary ways women obtain their goals.
  31. Women are more interested than men in being in control of their lives.
  32. Men are as submissive as women
  33. Women's feelings are more easily hurt than men's.
  34. Women have more insight into their feelings than men
  35. Women are usually more aware of other people's feelings than men
  36. Women are as skillful in business-related activities as men
  37. Men are not as analytical as women
  38. Men make better leaders than women
  39. Most women want their partner to take the initiative in their sexual
  40. Women are very emotional during their
  41. Women spend more time attending to their physical appearance than men
  42. Women usually say no (sexually) when they really mean
  43. Women are more devout individuals than men
  44. Women are more childish than men
  45. Women try to get what they want by being
  46. Men want power more than women
  47. Women tend to give up more easily than men
  48. Women have more need for security than
  49. Men can express tender emotions better than women
  50. Men are usually m ore loyal to their partner/spouse than women
  51. Women dislike being in leadership positions more than men
  52. Women have greater mechanical aptitude than
  53. Women are usually less well-organized than
  54. Women are as interested in sex as men
  55. When a woman is on her period, she cannot concentrate very
  56. Women pay more attention to their looks than most men
  57. Women act in seductive ways just to play around with
  58. Men are not as sensitive to profanity as women.
  59. Men are less sophisticated than women.
  60. Women tend to use their emotions to control
  61. Women are more aggressive than men
  62. Women are more easily influenced than men
  63. Women are more fearful than men
  64. Women are more honest in expressing their emotions than men
  65. Women are more understanding of people than men
  66. Women don't like responsibility as much as men
  67. Men are better at science and math than women
  68. Women are generally not as competent as men
  69. Women's sexual desires are less intense than men's
  70. Women's menstrual cycle makes them unfit for major leadership
  71. Women gain more status through their physical appearance than men
  72. Women like to flirt and tantalize men.
  73. Women are more spiritual than
  74. Women are more innocent-looking than
  75. Women usually threaten to cry if then can't have their own


The BELIEFS ABOUT WOMEN SCALE (BAWS) consists of fifteen (15) separate subscales.

The items for each of these subscales are listed below:

  1. Women are less dominating than (Items 1,16,31,46,61)
  2. Women are more passive than (Items 2,17,32,47,62)
  3. Women are more vulnerable than (Items 3,18,33,48,63)
  4. Women have more emotional insight than (Items 4,19,34,49,64)
  5. Women are more interpersonal than (Items 5,20,35,50,65)
  6. Women are less career interested than (Items 6,21,36,51,66)
  7. Women are less intelligent than (Items 7,22,37,52,67)
  8. Women are less decisive than (Items 8,23,38,53,68)
  9. Women are less sexual than (Items 9,24,39,54,69)
  10. Menstruation debilitates (Items 10,25,40,55,70)
  11. Women are more appearance conscious than (Items 11,26,41,56,71)
  12. Women are sexual (Items 12,27,42,57,72)
  13. Women are more moral than (Items 13,28,43,58,73)
  14. Women act sillier than men (Items 14,29,44,59,74)
  15. Women use manipulative strategies. (Items 15,30,45,60,75)


The items are scored so that: Strongly Agree = +2 Slightly Agree = +1 Neither agree nor disagree = 0 Slightly Disagree = -1 Strongly Disagree = -2. After several items are reverse coded (items 16, 31, 61, 32, 18, 49, 50, 21, 36, 37, 52, 23, 54, and 26), the relevant items on each subscale are then averaged, so that higher positive (negative) scores correspond to greater agreement (disagreement) with the relevant stereotype about women measured by each BAWS subscale. ITEMS 37, 52, AND 59 ARE CURRENTLY TREATED AS FILLER ITEMS AND ARE NOT ENTERED INTO THE COMPUTATION OF SCALE SCORES.