Gender roles

Gender roles are cultural and personal. It is these roles that determine how men and women should think, speak, dress and interact within a society's context. These roles are a theoretical construct within the social and human sciences branch that explains social and behavioral norms within a culture or country, appropriate for people depending on sex. It also refers to the image of a person in front of others and in front of society. While several socialization agents such as parents, teachers, peers, films, television, music, books, and religion teach and reinforce gender roles throughout life, parents are likely to exert the greatest influence, especially when their children are young and learning. Learning plays a role in this process of shaping gender roles.

Gender roles

Related topics

Matriarchy, patriarchy

What are gender roles?

Gender roles are the factors that determine how men and women should behave in front of others and within society, vary from country to country, from culture to culture and from sex, and are governed by social and behavioral norms.

Which are the gender roles?

Within today’s societies, there are four different and major gender roles, which are detailed below:

Characteristics of gender roles

The role of women was mainly related to the upbringing of children and the role of men is based on work and providing the money needed to live.

Gender roles adopted during childhood, usually continue into adulthood.

They may also change in the same society over time.

Gender stereotypes can cause unequal and unfair treatment because of a person’s gender, known as sexism.

Hyper-femininity may occur in female roles, including exaggeration of stereotyped behavior that is considered as feminine. Hyper-female people exaggerate qualities, and this can include being passive, naïve, sexually inexperienced, weak, and coquettish. Contrary to the previous characteristic we have the hyper masculinity, which implies the exaggeration of the stereotyped behavior that is believed to be masculine. They believe they must compete with other men and dominate female people by being aggressive, worldly, sexually experienced, insensitive, physically imposing, ambitious and demanding.

Origin of gender roles

The term gender role was first coined by John Money in 1955, during the course of his study of intersex individuals, to describe the ways in which these individuals expressed their status as men or women in a situation in which there was no clear biological assignment. The word role is a word that comes from the English word “role“, although its etymological origin is found in the French rôle. The word refers to the function or role of an individual in a given context.

Importance of gender roles

Extreme gender stereotypes are harmful because they do not allow people to fully express themselves or their emotions, and for this reason it is important to look for ways to eradicate them, however, without gender roles, there would be confusion and disorder. Gradual progress has been made in enabling women to work and play important roles in society, but there are still roles that women and men must play.


Some examples that help us to understand gender roles are the following:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Gender roles. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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