ACTing Like a Lawyer: An Affect Control Theory Explanation of Gender Gaps in Law. By: Fields, Benjamin. 2023. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World. p1-14.

Despite increased parity, large gaps remain between men and women in law. The author proposes that the cultural meanings and everyday interactions in which lawyers engage may create a gendered institution that reifies the gender hierarchy. Using three universal dimensions of meaning, the author investigates differences in the meanings of lawyer-related identities by gender. The results show that across all of these identities, female-modified identities carry cultural meanings that are less powerful than nonmodified identities. Using affect control theory, the author develops hypotheses about the expectations for men and women lawyers when enacting behaviors coded as either adversarial or caring. The data suggest that women are perceived as gender deviant when engaging in adversarial behaviors, while men are perceived as gender deviant when engaging in communal behaviors. These empirical hypotheses suggest ways that cultural meanings shape how lawyers experience their daily work lives and have broad implications for the gender hierarchy in high-powered workplaces.