Before we get into how culture influences gender
dynamics, it’s important that we attempt to clarify some
misconceptions. Let’s start with basic definitions of key
3. Definitions (cont.)
Sex - the biological and physiological differences
between men and women.
Sex Roles - the behaviors and patterns of activities men
and women may engage in that are directly related to
their biological differences.
Sexual Identity - the degree of awareness and
recognition of sex and sex roles.
Gender - behaviors or patterns of activities that a society
or culture deems appropriate for men and women.
4. Definitions (cont.)
Gender Role - the degree to which a person
adopts the gender-specific behaviors ascribed
by his or her culture.
Gender Identity - the degree to which a person
has awareness or recognition that he or she
adopts a particular gender role.
Gender Stereotypes - the psychological or
behavioral characteristics typically associated
with men and women.
5. Introductory Comments
Who does what? Who is culturally “permitted” to
do this or that?
It is clear that men and women perform different
tasks in most cultures.
Hence, division of labor between the man and
women, among other things, is said to be
culturally determined and readily apparent.
6. Intro Comments (cont.)
A prevalent view regarding gender-linked
behavior is that the qualities cultures associate
with masculinity or femininity are not innately
male or female.
These are socially construed roles.
Sandra Bem is a leading expert on the social
construction of gender roles. Her work on
androgyny is particularly noteworthy.
7. Gender Schema
According to Sandra Bem, our attitudes and
behaviors are based on our “gender schema”
which she defines as a cognitive network of
assumptions about the personalities and
moral qualities of men and women.
8. Gender Ideologies
David Gilmore, the author of “Manhood in the
Making” (1991), has proposed that we use
“gender ideologies” to better understand gender
He sees internalized gender ideologies as the
collective representations that pressure men
and women into acting in certain ways.
10. Parallels can be drawn between the impact of
gender versus the impact of culture on
Thirty to forty years ago psychological research
conducted on men has raised questions about
whether it was applicable to women.
Women were included as participants, but gender
differences were not examined.
Research on gender differences has documented
the need to revisited psychological theories.
Similar for research on cultural differences
12. The Relationship between Sex and
Gender across Cultures
Differences in sex roles exist universally
Georgas et al. (2006) study on 27 countries found
that women did most of housework.
Fathers concerned with finances, expressive
issues, childcare in all countries.
Mothers concerned with childcare only in less-
Cultures differ in nature and intensity of
differentiation between the sexes; gender,
gender roles, gender-role ideologies and gender
14. Culture and Gender Stereotypes
Williams and Best (1982) studied 30 countries
and found high pancultural agreement on the
adjectives used to describe males and females.
In all countries, adjectives associated with men
were rated as being stronger and more active.
Participants from Japan and South African rated
male characteristics as more favorable; Italy and
Peru rated female characteristics more favorable.
15. Culture and Gender Stereotypes
Follow up studies by Williams and
These studies show gender stereotypes
around the world to be stable.
Men are viewed as active, strong, critical,
conscientious, extraverted, and open.
Women are viewed as passive, weak,
nurturing, adaptive, agreeable, and neurotic.
16. Culture and Gender Stereotypes
support William and Best studies
examination of how gender stereotypes develop
Yet, many unanswered questions remain.
How congruent are behaviors with
stereotypes and does this congruence differ
Are stereotypes related to important
psychological constructs or behaviors?
17. Culture, Gender-Role Ideology,
Gender-role ideology has to do with
judgments about what males and females ought
to be like or ought to do.
Williams and Best (1990) study of 14 countries
Highly egalitarian: Netherlands, Germany and
Highly traditional: Nigeria, Pakistan and India
18. Culture, Gender-Role Ideology,
Gibbons and colleagues (1990) studied
adolescents and found that:
Adolescents from wealthier and more
individualistic countries were less traditional
Gender ideologies may be changing as societies
Religion may play a role in keeping with
traditional gender roles
20. Cross-Cultural Research on Gender
Culture and Gender Stereotypes
Williams and Best (1982)-used the Adjective
Check List where subjects characterized
adjectives as male or female characteristics
Men are generally viewed as active,
strong, critical, and adult like with needs
such as dominance, autonomy,
aggression, exhibition, achievement and
21. Cross-Cultural Research (cont.)
Women are viewed as passive, weak,
nurturing, and adaptive with needs such
as abasement, deference, nurturance,
affiliation, and heterosexuality.
These researchers are suggesting that
their findings support a “psychological
universal” when it comes to gender
22. Cross-Cultural Research (cont.)
Later studies, however, found
considerable gender-related cultural
These findings suggest that gender
stereotype differentiation tended to be
higher in countries that were
conservative and hierarchical with low
levels of socioeconomic development,
Christian affiliation, and proportion of
women attending a university.
23. Hofstede’s Study
Masculinity versus Femininity: degree to
which culture will foster, encourage, or maintain
differences between males and females
Highly masculine: Japan, Austria, Venezuela,
Low masculine: Denmark, Netherlands, Norway,
Masculine and feminine cultures differ in
sexuality and attitudes toward religion and
adherence to religious beliefs about men and