The Difference in Gender Roles among Men and Women

Development scientists are fascinated by how and why behavioral change happens over a while, and gender development scientists focus on knowing the origin of gendered thinking and gendered behavior. Gender development researchers have narrowed their study to questions of change over time. Gender roles have been defined as a behavioral and social norm that is considered appropriate for women and men in a social setting. Sex and gender are interchangeably used though they do not mean the same thing. Sex is defined as the biological category of female and male, as seen in their physical distinction in genetic composition, reproductive function, and anatomy. Gender, as distinguished from sex, refers to social, cultural, and psychological factors in an individual based on masculinity and femininity. Some related terms include gender identity, which refers to the psychological feeling of being female or male. Societies construct women and men differently, and those differences encourage inequalities. Gender relations focus that gender serving as a social organizing principle and that women and men gain power and identities concerning each other. Because they emanate from social interactions, gender relations keep developing (Muehlenhard & Peterson, 2011). This study is going to explain the difference in gender roles among males and females.

According to Watson & Newby (2005), gender and sex are fluid concepts, focusing on cultural-specific temporally impacting factors. Over the last few years, gender roles have changed, with more women participating in paid labor. Women are now indulging themselves in traditionally male-dominated careers, and men are becoming more involved in household chores and childcare responsibilities. However, this shift in gender roles occurs in a variation of the place involved. Different parts of the world tend to have different gender roles compared to other parts with rigid expectations of women. The idea about sex tends to change over a period. A person’s sex is established at birth, observing the genitalia. However, different cultures determine male,  female, or transgender depending on their traditions, definitions, and cultural assumptions. With the advent of technology and improved scientific knowledge of genes and chromosomes, it is now easy to determine the sex of an individual. Women and girls have been excluded from opportunities in all spheres for a long time, and these restrictions have led to limited gender identities, institutionalized limitations, unequal gender relations, and exclusion from economic and social life.

Gender directly affects health due to different roles, responsibilities, and activities attached to a different gender. Masculinity is associated with toughness which translates that masculine people are less likely to seek help for their health concerns. On the other hand, femininity is associated with being delicate, which can discourage women from partaking in physical activities to improve their health. According to the study, gender roles affect people’s certain jobs and therefore do not experience some of the occupational health hazards experienced by men. Some studies neglect the changing labor force participation. Research conducted in the US in the construction industry for 12 years showed that women have high mortality than men. Such realities indicate that gender roles are not natural per se but are socially dictated by the cultures and systems we live in. As a matter of flexibility, gender roles can be actively changed and challenged to cater to inequalities. In institutions, people have access to opportunities depending on their gender. Jack (2005), in his work, was of the view that health care centers tend to respond quickly to the treatment of cardiac symptoms in men than women. These differences are brought by social perceptions of what a cardiac patient looks like, and symptoms in both sexes appear to be different.

It is generally argued that biological distinction in females and males determines gender by creating differences in dispositions and capabilities. The high testosterone in men than women is believed to make men more aggressive than women. Left-brain dominance makes men more rational, while lack of brain lateralization makes women more emotional. The relationship between behavior and physiology is complex, and it is too easy to leap for gender dichotomies. Brain activity patterns, hormonal levels, and brain anatomy can be due to different activities and causes. At the early stages of brain development, work on sex differences is very much and far from conclusive, according to Jordan-Young (2011). The difference in degree from community to community and culture to culture is supported by separation. Girls tend to mostly with other girls while boys play with boys. This trend keeps on repeating itself in industrial societies and non-industrial societies. The difference in gender roles is largely contributed by the social roles of men and women. In the traditional division of labor, men assume leadership status than women do. Women, on the other hand, assume domestic and caretaking roles than men do. In this scenario, people grow believing that those groups have internal qualities suited for those jobs, thus not accounting for the power to affect behavior change.

As one grows, they are taught, whether explicitly or implicitly, about the desired behavior for men and women in society. For instance, women are expected to take care of children while men are required to work. According to Jäncke (2018), such expectations become approval and disapproval of conduct. The person assimilates behavioral conduct into their identity. From a social constructionist perspective, gender evolves as people interact with each other in their social structures. Gender can be attributed to social learning, psychological imprinting, and language. Recently, traditional theories about the psychology of men and women have been reconsidered, and questions posed about the characteristics that have been labeled as feminine and masculine. Men and women exhibit a distinction in conversation. Jäncke (2018) asserts that men talk to establish independence and status while women build rapport and community through talking. The language of women is perceived as being more aesthetic in quality but less dynamic than in men. In non-verbal communication, women are more expressive and keener on perceiving other people’s emotions than men. Gender differences in verbal skills and conversation can be linked to the size of the corpus callosum. The author of the text illustrates that the female brain possesses a thicker corpus callosum, which provides leeway for more intermingling of words between the brain’s two hemispheres.

There is always a difference in genders in how men and women socialize. The author suggests that women and men experience issues of dependence and relationships in a different manner. Through moral development and socialization, males depend on separation to establish their gender identity. Females do not rely on the achievement of the separation from the mother to establish their identity. Because masculinity is expressed by separation and femininity by attachment, males are threatened by intimacy while females are threatened by separation. The earliest information to children concerning what it takes to be a male or females comes from parents. Parents impact gender socialization, directly or indirectly, through their interactions with the children, their gender attitude, and how they model gendered behavior. As the children grow, children learn how to adopt gender roles, apply gender rules, and differentiate between the sexes. While this process is reinforced and learned through the parents’ influence, peers are partly influenced. Imitation plays a crucial part in acquiring deviant and conforming behavior. New responses may be acquired or existing responses changed by observing the behavior of others.

Crespi (2004) asserts that the behavior of adolescents and children towards health is closely influenced by the relation between the mother and child. Being so close to their mother, the child shares the same healthy and non-healthy behavior. For instance, a woman who has a passion for exercising will influence the child to adopt exercising. Women who participate in healthy behavior and are physically healthy emphasize the significance of self-esteem and mental wellbeing to their children. The mode of coordination also applies as parents and children negotiate on various activities and events and the social setting in which they happen. Over a period, the children learn to negotiate what is necessary, good, right, and strive to do away with what they dislike or fear. Parker emphasizes in his text that women who partake in unhealthy practices turn out to be unhealthy role models and a liability to the health of the children. Their unhealthy behavior can adversely influence adolescents and children. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is associated with impaired intellectual development in children and behavioral problems. Women who smoke during pregnancy put their children at risk of second-hand smoke and increase the risk of contracting cancer.

The biological theory asserts that the difference in gender roles emanates from biological differences inherent in both sexes. Important areas of concern include brain structure, chromosomes, or hormones. Researchers examined numerical, verbal, creative, spatial, and analytical abilities and concluded that various male and female hormones and genetic structure are the key factors in women excelling in verbal tasks while men are good in spatial, numeric, and analytical tasks. A different study focused on the differences in brain structure and size between men and women. Due to the difference in brain size, women tend to be best suited in verbal projects while men are good in spatial and mathematical projects.

Moreover, many studies assert that because of the men’s greater strength, large physical structure, and aggressive behavior, they provide and protect the entity in society. Women are mostly associated with domestic care and nurturing because of their traditionally passive behavior and reproductive capabilities. The biological theory has received much criticism for its view on gender differences. Firstly, male and female functions are unchangeable, and society is based on the roles of men and women. Furthermore, the biological theories created rigid gender dichotomies that dictate male and female behavior (Suar & Gochhayat, 2016).

In conclusion, it is critical to note that the various authors dealing with the study seem to agree that the difference in gender roles greatly influences the way a child is brought, their interactions with parents and peers. Children tend to cope with certain traits from their parents, which determine the gender roles they undertake as they grow up. Various behavioral changes occur as children imitate or copy their parents. Healthy behaviors among parents will influence the child to adopt those behaviors. However, with the dynamic of life, gender roles have are now different. It is now possible to find women taking roles that men previously dominated.  Authors seem to have different views on biological theory to influence gender roles, with most agreeing on the chromosomes, brain structure, and hormones as determinant factors. Gender roles adopted during childhood continue to adulthood. The issue of gender roles has changed with women’s entry into the paid labor force and especially the male-dominated professions. This scenario has led to the relaxation of restrictions imposed on women’s behavior. Although men’s roles have changed, their change is minimal compared to women. Nevertheless, men and women who have transcended their gender roles face much resistance from various domains. The belief that there is a change in gender roles give men and women an opportunity to follow their passion instead of being limited by societal expectations

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