Abstract for: The Terrible Bargain: Gendered Trust Disparities, Intimate Sexism & Male Accountability in Ostensibly Caring Relationships

The terrible bargain (McEwan, 2009) refers to gendered disparities in trust between men and women who are ostensibly operating within relationships of mutual respect or care. McEwan notes how men’s failure to accept accountability for their intimate sexism puts women in the position of having to choose between accepting an inequitable relationship or initiating an argument that may end that relationship. We see this both as a learning problem (men may not understand how stocks and feedback create gendered trust disparities) as well as a coordination problem (men and women have disparate understandings of the situation; Hovmand 2014). As system dynamicists and colleagues, we are women and men engaged in respectful relationships that we seek to make more just. Thus, this project aims to address this learning and coordination problem amongst the authorship team by using community based system dynamics (CBSD) to develop a simulation model of the feedback structures that contribute to gendered trust disparities. We seek to explore the impact of CBSD on the team’s mental model of intimate sexism, with the goal of creating more equitable working relationships, and explore whether this approach could be used to supportive non-punitive accountability processes such as transformative justice.