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Where you stand in a lift reveals lots about gender roles

A PhD study found that women stand nearest the doors…

Older guy at the back: check.
Older guy at the back: check.
Image: Lift image via Shutterstock

ELEVATOR RIDES CAN reveal a lot about social behavior.

PhD candidate Rebekah Rousi discovered some interesting patterns when she spent days on end riding up and down elevators in two buildings in Adelaide, Australia.

Robert Krulwich at NPR reports her findings:

“Over and over, she noticed that older ‘more senior men in particular seem to direct themselves towards the back of the elevator cabins.’

Younger men took up the middle ground.

And in the front, facing the doors, backs to the guys, stood ‘women of all ages.’”

The segregation wasn’t by height; rather, Rousi found that the “senior men” in the back would often check themselves and all other passengers out in the elevator mirrors, while the women looked ahead. Rousi dismissed an outright gender or power analysis — though both could play into how people stand in elevators — and said it may have more to do with shyness or vanity.

Read Krulwich’s NPR piece here.

- Aimee Groth

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