Gender role

social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality

Gender role is the idea that people should behave in certain ways because of their gender. As an example, in a hunter-gatherer economy, men usually do more hunting and women do more gathering. In a money economy, it was traditionally the role of the man to earn money, and the role of the woman to educate the children. Such behavior may be a result of social and cultural factors. In the case it is the result of socialization. There is still a discussion to what extent the observed behaviour is a function of the personality, and to what extent social factors play a role in the determination of gender-specific differences in behaviour.[1]

Construction site with men and women doing different work

Gender roles are dependent on the culture and history of the society that they are part of. While most cultures express two genders, some express more. Androgyny, for example, has been proposed as a third gender.[2] Other societies have been claimed to have more than five genders,[3] and some non-Western ones have three genders – man, woman and third gender.[4] Gender expression refers to the external manifestation of one's gender identity, through "masculine," "feminine," or gender-variant or gender neutral behavior, clothing, hairstyles, or body characteristics.[5]

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women says that stereotyped gender role should be abolished.[6]


  1. "What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  2. Eleanor Emmons, Maccoby (1966). "Sex differences in intellectual functioning". The Development of Sex Differences. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. pp. 25–55. ISBN 978-0-8047-0308-6.
  3. Graham, Sharyn (2001), Sulawesi's fifth gender, Inside Indonesia, April–June 2001.
  4. Roscoe, Will (2000). Changing Ones: Third and Fourth Genders in Native North America. Palgrave Macmillan (June 17, 2000) ISBN 0-312-22479-6
    See also: Trumbach, Randolph (1994). London’s Sapphists: From Three Sexes to Four Genders in the Making of Modern Culture. In Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History, edited by Gilbert Herdt, 111-36. New York: Zone (MIT). ISBN 978-0-942299-82-3
  5. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‘’GLAAD Media Reference Guide, 8th Edition. Transgender Glossary of Terms”, ‘’GLAAD’’, USA, May 2010. Retrieved on 2011-11-20.
  6. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Article 5

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