2011. Vol.2, No.4, 300-306
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/psych.2011.24047
Comparison of Feminine Gender Norms among Spanish and
American College Women
María del Pilar Sánchez-López, Isabel Cuéllar-Flores
Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
Received February 21st, 2011; revised April 1st, 2011; accepted May 3rd, 2011.
This article describes the psychometric characteristics of the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI;
Mahalik et al., 2005) in a group of Spanish college women (n = 383), and explores cross-cultural differences in
feminine role norms. Factor analysis reveals a profile similar to the one obtained in the USA and, albeit differing
in some aspects, in general it supports the authors’ proposed structure. Reliability and corelations between sub-
scales were adequate. Participants endorsed less traditional views toward 4 of the 8 feminine norms of the CFNI
and reported significantly less conformity than comparable American students. Only the Domestic norm re-
ceived greater endorsement by Spanish women in this group. The findings support the suitability of the CFNI for
use in the Spanish group and establish an empirical base for future studies of Spanish femininity. Cross-country
differences are discussed.
Keywords: Spanish Femininity, Gender Roles, Feminine Norms, Cultural Differences in Feminine Norms,
The empirical study on the meaning of masculinity and
femininity gained in importance in the 70s. Various researchers
(e.g. Baucom, 1976; Bem, 1974; Heilbrum, 1976; Spence &
Helmreich, 1974) developed scales based on concepts of in-
strumentality-expressiveness (Parsons & Bales, 1955), identi-
fying masculinity and femininity with each other in terms of
these independent dimensions. This marking of the boundary
for femininity and masculinity in terms of social desirability is
the starting point for the criticisms which appear nowadays
against these new scales, since if masculinity and femininity are
concepts conditioned by historical evolution and social con-
struction, it does not seem very convenient to fix them in such a
rigid background as that of instrumentality-expressiveness
(Auster & Ohm, 2000; Marsh & Myers, 1986; Woodhill &
Samuels, 2003). Another of the limitations highlighted is that
these measures examine femininity and masculinity via global
indices, without taking into account the multidimensionality
reflected by these concepts, both by their own theoretical defi-
nition and by the results that some researches show at the pre-
sent time (Coan, 1989; Fernández, Quiroga, Olmo, &
Rodríguez, 2007; Mahalik et al.; 2003).
To overcome these limitations, and bearing in mind the im-
portance of making gender operative, and more specifically
(from a psychological perspective), evaluating what people will
make of the latter (Mahalik et al., 2003; 2005) they introduced
the concept of social norm into the measurement of masculine-
ity-femininity. To define social norms, among which gender
norms are to be found, Mahalik et al. (2003, 2005), they take
the description of Cialdini & Trost (1999: p. 152), which are
“rules and standards that are understood by members of a group,
that guide and/or constrain social behaviour without the force
of laws”. In this manner femininity would be a heterogeneous
set of social norms on relationships, attitudes and beliefs which
are deemed suitable for women are passed on by every culture
and are identifiable by members of each society. The variety of
gender mandates and different individual and social factors
mean that each women or man identifies with some norms more
than others, and is even opposed to some of them.
Starting with this conception, Mahalik et al. (2005) con-
structed the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI),
a measure which offers a series of advantages compared to the
previous ones: it is an up-to-date instrument, since it was cre-
ated quite recently, and incorporates a multidimensional gender
viewpoint, so that it works with the “femininity” construct, not
as a homogeneous entity, but a multiple one (there would be
different “femininities”, with which people would identify in
different degrees). Moreover, in using the concept of feminine
norm, what is understood by femininity is dealt with as a set of
norms of behaviour, attitudes and beliefs of a prescriptive na-
ture. These norms are considered as a sample of all the gender
norms which hypothetically exist, norms depending upon the
characteristics of those taking part from which the instrument
was prepared (young university students, white, American and
Drafting the Original Questionnaire on the American
Constructing the original inventory (Mahalik et al., 2005)
was done by following a scrupulous empirical rationally guided
methodology. The authors reviewed the bibliography on tradi-
tional feminine norms and selected 32 women for a discussion
group to identify the messages they had received as to how
women should think, feel and act. 100 messages were sorted
into 13 large groups. Finally, two focus groups of masters and
doctoral students, men and women, discussed the examples
identified as norms, refined the categories and drafted the items.
M. DEL P. SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ ET AL. 301
The resulting categories were 12 feminine norms. Each cate-
gory included 12 items, 144 altogether, and were applied to 733
female university students. After conducting the Factor Analy-
ses, the authors arrived at an 8-factor, main axis, oblique ro-
tated solution. Items were retained only if they loaded at |.4| or
higher on one factor and did not cross-load any higher than |.3|
on any other factor. This resulted in 84 items being retained 7
of the 8 factors coincided with the rationally elaborated catego-
ries and only one of them combined with two of them. The final
result was 8 subscales labelled as Nice in Relationships, Care
for Children, Thinness, Sexual Fidelity, Modesty, Involvement
in Romantic Relationship, Domestic and Invest in Appearance.
The CFNI has been developed and used predominantly with
white American heterosexual college students, although it has
been also applied in American black women (Cole & Zucker,
2007) and in Canadian women (Parent & Moradi, 2010). The
instrument has been used to examine its relationships with eat-
ing disorders and other clinical outcomes (Green, Davids,
Skaggs, Riopel, & Hallengren, 2008; Hurt et al., 2007; Mahalik
et al., 2005).
The Present Study
In Spain, research on femininity has used, in particular, the
scales for the 70s (e. g. Fernández, Quiroga, Olmo, & Rod-
riguez, 2007; García-Mina, 1997; García-Vega, Fernández
García, & Rico Fernández, 2005; Mateo & Fernández, 1991;
Sebastián, 1990) but the findings obtained support, in general
and in accordance with Mahalik’s model (2000), multidimen-
sionality, unsatisfactory percentage of variance accounted for,
and lack of congruence between obtained factors and the dual-
istic model (Fernández, Quiroga, Olmo, & Rodriguez, 2007).
Research with other instruments developed in Spain (e.g. Ide-
ology of the Sexual Role—Moya, Navas, & Gómez-Berrocal,
1991; Questionnaire on Gender Stereotypes—López-Sáez, 1994;
Questionnaire on Attitudes to Gender Equality—Sola, Mar-
tinez, & Meliá, 2003) give more evaluation to sexist beliefs
than to the degree to which a person feels identified with a
gender model, and possibly this type of instrument does not
detect new forms of sexism (Moya & Expósito, 2000).
The psychometric characteristics of the CFNI and his theo-
retical model make it a good instrument to measure gender. In
previous works (Sánchez-López, Cuéllar-Flores, Dresch, &
Aparicio, 2009) there has been an adaptation of the CFNI to
general Spanish population, and the results obtained support the
suitability of the CFNI as a multidimensional gender measure
to be used in Spain.
The present study aims to ask whether the categories that
would indentify American female university students’ confor-
mity to feminine norms match those of Spanish female univer-
sity students. We intend to check the suitability of the CFNI to
this group and whether the findings differ from those obtained
in the USA. We hypothesized that, considering the signs of
evolution towards less stereotyped approaches with regard to
sexual roles in Spain (Lameiras-Fernández et al., 2002; López-
Sáez, Morales, & Lisbona, 2008; Moya, Expósito, & Ruiz,
2000) and that gender stereotyping is higher in the features
linked to the domestic role (López-Sáez, Morales, & Lisbona,
2008), cultural differences would appear in conformity to femi-
383 women between the ages of 18 and 33 filled in the CFNI.
They averaged 21.85 years of age (SD = 3.14). All participants
were college students. 76% lived in the Community of Madrid,
11% in Andalusia, 5% in Castilla la Mancha, 3% in Murcia,
and the remainder in the communities of Catalonia, Cas-
tilla-León and La Rioja, in that order from highest to lowest
frequency. These women were recruited from college campuses
through both classroom recruitment and snowball sampling,
where existing study subjects are used to recruit more partici-
pants into the sample.
In Table 1 some of the demographic characteristics of the
Spanish and US participants were shown.
Use has been made of the Conformity to Feminine Norms
Inventory (CFNI—Mahalik et al., 2005), an 84-item instrument
using a 4-point scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree.
The statements have been designed to measure attitudes, beliefs
and behaviour associated with feminine gender roles, both tra-
ditional and non-traditional. The CFNI have 8 subscales la-
belled as Nice in Relationships (original sample item: “It is
important to let people know they are special”), Thinness (sam-
ple item: “I would be happier if I was thinner”), Modesty (sam-
ple item: “I always downplay my achievements”), Domestic
(sample item: “I enjoy spending time making my living space
look nice”), Care for Children (sample item: “Taking care of
children is extremely fulfilling”), Romantic Relationship (sam-
ple item: “Having a romantic relationship is essential in life”),
Sexual Fidelity (sample item: “I would feel guilty if I had a
one-night stand”), and Invest in Appearance (sample item: “I
spend more than 30 minutes a day doing my hair and makeup”).
See Table 2 for an example of the original and corresponding
adapted items to the Spanish populations and Table 3 for a
definition of the subscales. Internal consistency and temporal
stability for the scale in the USA college population were suit-
able. Criterion validity was checked by means of the Bem Sex
Role Inventory (BSRI—Bem, 1974) and the Feminist Identity
Composite (FIC—Fischer, Tokar, Mergl, Good, Hill, & Blum,
Information was also requested on age, sex, nationality, the
city where they were living at the time, level of studies and
Sociodemographic characteristics of the Spanish and American par-
n 371 733
18 - 33
Educational level 100% Higher 100% Higher
Work situation 100% Student 100% Student
M. DEL P. SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ ET AL.
Example of CFNI items.
Original CFNI items
It is important to let people know they are special Strongly DisagreeDisagree Agree Strongly Agree
I enjoy spending time making my living space look nice Strongly DisagreeDisagree Agree Strongly Agree
Adapted CFNI items
Es importante hacer saber a la gente que son especiales Totalmente en
desacuerdo Desacuerdo Acuerdo
Disfruto empleando tiempo para que el lugar donde vivo tenga un aspecto agradableTotalmente en
desacuerdo Desacuerdo Acuerdo
Definition of each of eight subscales of the conformity to feminine norms inventory.
Factor Subscale Definition of feminine norm
1 Nice in relationships Develop friendly and supportive relationships with others.
2 Thinness Pursue a thin body ideal.
3 Modesty Refrain from calling attention to one’s talents or abilities.
4 Domestic Keeps house.
5 Care for children Take care and be with children.
6 Romantic relationship Invest self in romantic relationship.
7 Sexual fidelity Maintain sexual intimacy within one committed relationship.
8 Invest in appearance Commit resources to maintaining and improving physical appearance.
The process of adaptation of the CFNI to the Spanish popula-
tion was done according to the recommendations of the Interna-
tional Test Commission’s (2000) international guidelines, used
previously by our research group in tests published in specia-
lized editorials and with satisfactory results. The basic steps of
this protocol are the following:
1) Translation by a bilingual psychologist, with experience in
translating psychological evaluation instruments.
2) Application to a small group of expert psychologists in
psychological evaluation and in adapting instruments to the
reality of Spain. Evaluation is carried out as to whether the
instrument has been adapted linguistically, culturally and psy-
chologically. Agreement among the judges enables the second
experimental version to be drawn up.
3) Application to a small (n = 15), normal population group,
requesting them to indicate difficulties in comprehension, both
linguistic and cultural. In this manner the third and definitive
version of the instrument is obtained.
As a result of the process, minor modifications were made
with the purpose of translating and adapting the questionnaire
to Spanish culture and idiosyncrasy. Finally we began the ap-
plications with university women from the Spanish territory.
The instrument was applied by the authors in several classes of
university students from several degree courses. All the par-
ticipants in our study gave their informed consent after we ex-
plained the purpose of the investigation, provided a description
of the procedures of the study and alternatives to participation
guaranteed their freedom to withdraw from any part of the
study without any consequences. We also guaranteed the ano-
nymity of their data. Then the participants received the ques-
tionnaire, which took fifteen minutes to answer.
Principal factor extraction techniques and oblique rotation
(oblimin), specifying 8 factors, were used. The scree plot
showed that 8 can be a proper number of factors. This factor
analysis method was used to verify the structure underlying the
inventory in the group of Spanish participants because it pro-
vides the factors that explain most of the common variance, and,
in addition, it assumes that the factors are related, as in the
original CFNI. We used an exploratory factor analysis to check
what factor structure emerges from the data, and because there
has been a small alteration of actual item content for the CFNI
Before carrying out factorisation, the previous assumptions
were tested: the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling ade-
quacy was .79, and Bartlett’s test of sphericity was statistically
significant at p < .000. Thus, it was possible to continue with
The eight factor structure accounted for 37.86% of the vari-
ance of the items (against 39.51% explained by the same ques-
tionnaire—Mahalik et al., 2005) on American data, and the
M. DEL P. SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ ET AL. 303
factor loading of each item appear in Table 4, where loadings
below |.30| have been eliminated. This is a reasonable limit for
n = 383. We can check that factor 1 explains the higher per-
centage of variance (10.07%) and that items with the highest
factor loading in it belong to the Care for Children subscale (11
out of 12 items). In factor 2 the items which have highest load-
ings belong to Thinness subscale (10 out of 11 items making up
this subscale in the original questionnaire), and explain the
6.66% of variance. In factor 3 (explained 5.61% of the variance)
items belonging to the Sexual Fidelity subscale are those
showing the highest factor loadings (9 out of 10 items). In fac-
tor 4 (explained 4.44% of the variance) it is the items on the
Modesty subscale (7 out of 9 items) and in factor 5 (explained
3.63% of the variance) those of the Domestic subscale (7 out of
8). In factor 6 (explained 2.80% of the variance) the items
which have highest loadings belong to the subscale of Nice in
Relationships (4 out of 7). The items forming part of the Invest
in Apparience subscale (6 items out of 7) saturate fundamen-
tally in factor 7 (explained 2.39% of the variance) and those of
the Romantic Relationship subscale (8 out of 9) in factor 8
(explained 2.24% of the variance). The pattern of variance ex-
plained by these factors is similar to the same factors in the
Likewise, the analyses show that some of the items (59, 23, 61,
38 and 1) do not seem to be sufficiently explanatory in the
group of Spanish participants, because their factor loadings are
lower than |.30|.
Correlations between Subscales and Internal
Consistency on the CFNI
Cronbach’s alpha coefficient has been calculated for the es-
timation of the reliability of the instrument and the correlations
between subscales. Table 5 presents the results for the group of
Spanish and American women. The alpha coefficient for the
total scale is .86 and the range of values for the subscales is .72
for the lowest and .91 the highest, the average of the coefficient
for the 8 scales is .79. All values are lower in the Spanish group.
As for correlations between subscales, the results indicate that
all the scales have a positive, significant correlation with the
total score, and there are also correlations between some of
Differences between Spanish and USA Groups of
In Table 6 there appear the means and standard deviations of
the CFNI subscales in the group of Spanish women and that of
Americans and the results of the t test for difference in media
for independent groups. There are statistically significant dif-
ferences in all subscales and in the total score except on the
Modesty and Invest in Appearance subscales. The direction of
the differences is from a lower score on all subscales for the
Spanish women compared to the Americans but on Domestic
subscale. If we go by the size effect and Cohen’s guidelines
(1988) we see that the size of those differences is high in total
score, in Sexual Fidelity, Thinness; and moderate in Care for
Children, Romantic Relationship and in Domestic. The differ-
ences are small in Nice in Relationships.
The results of the factor analysis in the Spanish group pro-
vide a general factor structure similar to the one obtained in the
USA group, but differing in some important aspects. Mahalik
et al. (2005) chose those items with factor loadings equal to or
higher than |.40| in a factor and which did not exceed |.30| in
any other. Nonetheless, some authors (García, Gil, & Rodríguez,
2000) consider that a factor loading equal to or more than |.30|
is adequate with a large size sample and this criterion would
lead to a better explanation of some items in the results ob-
tained in our study. Thus, each factor corresponds with most of
the items of the factors extracted in the American data, and,
consequently, with the subscales previously drawn up in a ra-
Principal axis oblimin rotated structural matrix, percentage of total variance for eight factors, eigenvalues and communalities.
Factors Items and corresponding factor loadings (in parenthesis) Eigenvalue Explained variance
1 Child27 (.811), Child 83 (.785), Child 19 (.777), Child 80 (−.765), Child 36 (.759), Child 54(−736),
Child 70 (−.717), Child 76 (.688), Child 45(.666), Child 10 (−.626), App62 (−.625), Child 2 (−.575) 8.98 10.07
2 Child 64 (.848), Thin 37 (.777), Thin 3 (.771), Thin 11 (−.689), Thin 46 (.674), Thin 77 (.669), Thin
71 (−.620), Thin 81 (−.612), Thin 28 (−.585), Thin 55 (−.447), Thin 20 (.445) 6.11 6.66
3 Thin65 (−.792), Fid 29 (−.783), Fid 47 (.714), Fid 56 (.640), Fid _21 (−.619), Fid 39 (.611), Fid 78
(−.597), Fid 4 (−.587), Fid 12 (.483), Fid 72 (.451) 5.23 5.61
4 Mod 30 (.621), Fid 57 (.617), Mod 40 (−.569), Mod 14 (.566), Mod 73 (.513), Mod 5 (−.505), Mod
49 (−.488), Fid 66 (−.422), Mod 22 (.315) 4.34 4.44
5 Dom 51 (.714), Dom16 (−.686), Dom 24 (.633), Dom 32 (−.581), Dom 68 (.576), Dom 7 (−.557),
Dom 42 (.542) 3.66 3.63
Relat 75 (.310), Relat 69 (.558), Relat 63 (−.490), Relat 44 (−.307), Relat 35 (.392), Relat 53
(−.385), Relat 48 (−.357), Relat 79 (.357), Relat 26 (−.354), Relat 9 (.350), Relat 13 (.335), Relat 82
(.328), Relat 18 (−.325)
7 Appe 34 (−.763), Appe 52 (.646), Appe 25 (.585), Appe 8 (−.568), Appe43 (.564), Appe 17 (.432),
Rom 60 (−.423) 2.59 2.39
8 Rom 50 (−.593), Rom 31 (−.593), Rom 41 (.539), Rom 33 (−.445), Rom 67 (−.358), Rom 74
(.356), Rom 6 (−.355), Relat 84 (−.348), Rom15 (−.308) 2.50 2.24
Note. n = 383. Relat = Nice in Relationships, Rom = Involvement in Romantic Relationship, App = Invest in Appearance, Child = Care for Children, Mod = Modesty, Dom
= Domestic, Fid = Sexual Fidelity, Thin = Thinness.
M. DEL P. SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ ET AL.
Correlations between CFNI Total and subscale scores and internal consistencies of spanish and USA groups.
Scales 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Spain α USA α
1. Relation 1 .72 .84
2. Children .391** 1 .91 .92
3. Thinness −.001 .019 1 .88 .90
4. Fidelity .095 .142** −.025 1 .86 .85
5. Modesty −137** −.012 .044 .157** 1 .74 .82
6. Romantic .249** .203** .130* .259** −141** 1 .72 .77
7. Domestic .120* .159** .006 .236** .045 .114* 1 .77 .84
8. Appearanc .051 −.084 .201** .120* −.067 .146** .161** 1 .78 .82
TOTAL .540** .596** .430** .537** .174** .512** .433** .346** .86 .88
Note. **Significant correlation at the level of .01 (2-tail), *Significant correlation at the level of .05 (2-tail), Relation = Nice in Relationships, Romantic = Involvement in
Romantic Relationship, Appearanc = Invest in Appearance, Children = Care for Children, Fidelity = Sexual Fidelity, USA α = Mahalik et al. (2005).
Means, Standard Deviations and t Values on CFNI subscales comparing Spanish and USA participants.
Spanish Group (n = 383) Mean (SD) USA Group (n = 733) Mean (SD)ª t d (effect size)
1. Relationships 37.99(5.36) 39.48(5.97) −4.09*** 0.26 (low)
2. Care for Children 22.23(6.53) 26.51(6.24) −10.70*** 0.66 (medium)
3. Thinness 15.29(6.19) 20.87(6.18) −14.31*** 0.90 (high)
4. Sexual fidelity 14.85(5.43) 20.22(5.55) −15.46*** 0.97 (high)
5. Modesty 12.60(3.35) 13.02(3.67) 1.86
6. Romantic 13.79(3.67) 15.64(3.73) −7.90*** 0.49 (medium)
7. Domestic 15.42(3.45) 14.10(3.10) 6.49*** 0.40 (medium)
8. Appearance 11.87(3.59) 12.01(3.75) n.s.
Total 144.06 (17.58) 162.73(18.26) −16.42*** 1.04 (high)
Note. ***p = .000, Relationships = Nice in Relationships, Romantic = Investment in Romantic Relationships, Appearance = Investment in Appearance, ns = nonsignificant,
ª Mahalik et al. (2005).
However, there are some factors that include items stemming
from several scales in the original. There would be factors
made up of items which in Spanish women would be related to
different subscales and some items that do not seem to be suffi-
ciently explanatory in this group, because their factor loadings
are lower than |.30|. Furthermore, the majority of these last
items are related to the most extreme type of statements, or with
what would be least “acceptable” to state, for example, the
items “I don’t care if my living space looks messy” (item 61)
on the Domestic subscale, or “I pity people who are single”
(item 23) of Romantic Relationship, compared to other items
which belong the same subscales but saturate on different fac-
tors, such as “It is important o keep your living space clean”
(item 7) on Domestic or “I can be happy without being in a
romantic relationship” (item 41), from Romantic Relationship.
On the other hand, items corresponding to the subscales Nice in
Relationships and Romantic Relationship have factor loadings
higher than |.30| in two different factors (6 and 8). Thus, in
Spanish women, orientation towards relationships, either ro-
mantic or non-romantic ones, would be more related. These
results, therefore, do not invalidate the theoretical structure
proposed in the original, rather they may indicate that among
Spanish women some items are not sufficient suitable and sug-
gest that may be deleted.
The results of the factor analyses and of the correlations be-
tween scales confirm, in general, previous findings (Sánchez-
López, Cuéllar-Flores, Dresch, & Aparicio, 2009) and the
model proposed by the author (Mahalik, 2000; Mahalik et al.,
2003, 2005), according to which femininity is proposed as a
multidimensional construct made up of several gender norms
which are differentiated but not related, since the 8 scales are
related by the total score in an intense manner and among some
pairs in a moderate, low or non-significant way. Moreover, the
M. DEL P. SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ ET AL. 305
analyses on the reliability of the instrument enable it to be said
that the internal consistency is acceptable, the Cronbach’s alpha
values for each of the scales, even when lower than those of the
USA group, are all above .70. Therefore we can state that the
questionnaire is sufficiently uniform and consistent in our data.
Spanish women’s sense of femininity, based on the findings,
is similar to American college women’s sense of femininity,
since the categories that would identify young American
women’s conformity to femininity match those of young Span-
ish women. However, as predicted, some differences exist in
terms of the degree of conformity by one group or the other.
Spanish women score less on the subscales evaluating interest
in romantic relationships, adjustment to the canons of thinness,
care of children and sexual fidelity than American female col-
lege students, but Spanish women have greater score on the
subscale evaluating home-loving. With regard to the interest in
friendly relationships, the findings show that the magnitude of
differences is small, albeit significant, whereas there are no
differences in items related to modesty and concern for one’s
own image or appearance. These discrepancies could be ex-
plained by the influence of cultural factors, since both groups
share other sociodemographic characteristics such as being
university students and being of similar age. Thus, it is possible
to discard other types of factors as sexual orientation or socio-
economic factors, and this aspect, nonetheless, would have to
be confirmed in later works. In any case, the data show that the
Spanish university women are less conformist to feminine
norms than American student women. It is important to men-
tion the enormous changes produced in Spain in the last dec-
ades, in part due to the great influence of the historical events
and the recent fight for basic women rights. In fact, gender-role
stereotyping shows a marked decline between 1993 and 2001
(López-Sáez, Morales, & Lisbona, 2008). Making Spanish soci-
ety aware of the impact of violence against women and the
rights of homosexuals; as well as the large amounts of money
spent on equal opportunities for men and women (for the period
2008-2011, in Spain, there has been invested 3690 million of
euros (Prieto, Blasco, & López, 2008) may have had an influ-
ence on the reduction in the degree of agreement with tradi-
tional masculinity. Moreover, a possible relationship could be
proposed between the Spanish birth rate (one of the world’s
lowest and one which has shown a rapid fall in a short time;
CIA, 2008), and the results obtained in this work with regard to
conformity with norms related to childcare (fewer among the
Spanish). Spanish women could be more aware of the feminine
norms’ “costs” and, in fact, be less conformist to them. The fact
that the Domestic norm was the only norm on which Spanish
women reported greater conformity than American women
suggests that it may indeed represent one key aspect of Spanish
feminine gender-role socialization. Regarding roles, López-
Sáez, Morales, & Lisbona (2008) confirm that gender stereo-
typing is higher in the features linked to the family—where the
role assigned to women is still very traditional—than in other
aspects like paid work.
Corroboration is provided, from the factor analysis, of the
correlations matrix and the reliability index that the CFNI can
be used with the Spanish population, and confirmation is pro-
vided, as proposed by the authors (Mahalik et al., 2005), that
the characteristics of the participants on the basis of which the
instrument was constructed have an influence on the particu-
larities of the results of the measurement, though, in essence, a
similar organisation and a suitable model are maintained. This
is particularly important because available research with the
CFNI has been conducted primarily with respondents from the
Cross-country variability in the degree of the conformity to
some feminine norms found in this study suggests that Spanish
female college students are less traditional than American fe-
male college students, at least as operationalized by American
standards of femininity. It is important, however, to notice that
traditional femininity ideology should vary from culture to
Our participants were chosen for their characteristics, which
were the same as those Americans taking part, but limit the
possibilities of generalising to any other type of population.
Another limitation is that among Spanish women some items
are not sufficient suitable and it could be important to delete
them and check the resultant outcome. In addition, examination
of validity evidence (such as criterion validity) seems funda-
mental, thus, this is a further limitation of this study and must
be investigated in the future. Among our future prospects we
would like, therefore, to continue checking possible differences
on the basis of other variables, such as socioeconomic levels,
age and educational levels, following the recommendations of
the authors (Mahalik et al., 2005).
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