An analysis of the development of gender roles in children

During early childhood, girls and boys spend much of their time in the home with their families and look to parents and older siblings for guidance. Parents provide children with their first lessons about gender. Do parents tend to have gender-stereotypical expectations for their children?

An analysis of the development of gender roles in children

Parents of sons are more likely to express conservative gender role views than parents of daughters, with fathers emphasizing the paternal breadwinning role for males. The effects of parental expectations of gender roles can especially be seen in the role children play in household duties.

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Girls generally do more housework than boys and the type of housework assigned to children largely depends on gender. The results suggested that CAH girls exhibited more masculine-typed behavior observable through toy choice as well as drawings and rough-and-tumble play.

While a compelling result, parental expectations, in addition to biology, could play a large role in shaping behavioral outcomes. An early diagnosis might lead parents to expect, and therefore, condone, more masculine-typed behaviors, implicitly socializing the CAH girls to express themselves in certain ways.

In normally developing girls, masculine behaviors may be discouraged, and parents may steer their daughters toward more traditionally feminine toys, colors, and preferences. This alternative social explanation complicates the interpretation of neat causality between hormones and behavior.

Gender identity

Untilthese play differences were ignored in studies of the differences between boys and girls, [11] but recent research has shed light on these sex differences.

Hardy et An analysis of the development of gender roles in children This study took preschool children and asked them to perform specific fundamental movement skills such as locomotor and object control skills. After examining the children performing these movements, the researchers found that female preschoolers are generally better at locomotor movements, while male preschoolers are better at object control.

These findings emphasize the need for a superior program in which boys and girls can work together and integrate their skills for a chance at greater development of future skills. Boys tend to be more "rough and tumble" in their play while girls shy away from this aggressive behavior, leading to the formation of separate play groups.

Calvert In addition, boys tend to gravitate more towards toys such as trucks while girls tend to gravitate towards dolls, but these preferences are not absolutes.

A study by Alexander, Wilcox, and Woods showed that female infants showed more visual interest in a doll over a toy truck while male infants showed more visual interest in a toy truck over a doll, but these differences were more pronounced in the females. One of the most compelling theories in regards to biologically determined gender differences is the idea that male-preference and female-preference for toys are mediated by inequities in visual processing.

The central claim is that males and females are preprogrammed to specialize in certain forms of perception: Alexander [14] makes a particularly strong case. The author suggests that inherent sex differences based on perceptual categories encourage children to seek out playmates of a similar play style, and ultimately predisposes them for later social and gender roles Alexander, Human vision operates based on two anatomically grounded systems: Both pathways are present in males and females, and M-cells are designed to recognize motion, while P-cells specialize in form and color perception Alexander, Some research has suggested that sex-linked differences in M-cell versus P-cell dominance could be the underlying factor leading to differential toy preference in children, potentially validating the stereotype that boys prefer toy cars and balls objects associated with motion while girls prefer dolls and stuffed animals objects characterized by distinct facial characteristics, form, and color.

Beyond hormonal explanations, Alexander also employs an evolutionary biology perspective to link contemporary toy preference to early selective pressures and the development of visual specialization. Specifically, male M-cell pathway dominance is connected back to motion mediated activities like hunting and the throwing of projectiles.

Female P-cell dominance is tied to foraging for plants, a task requiring discrimination between colors and memory of form. Color is particularly important in foraging, as discrimination between colors aids in identifying a ripe piece of fruit from the greenery around it.

As it were, the "green-red opponent system" is thought to be X-chromosome linked and phylogenetically more recent, in contrast with the more rudimentary "yellow-blue" system present to the same degree in both sexes Alexander, According to the theory, this adaptation has persisted throughout human evolution, and may contribute to contemporary sexual-dimorphism in skill and preference.

From this position, Alexander suggests the designation of pink as a girl color and blue as a boy color might not be completely arbitrary after all.

In a separate study by Gredlin and Bjorklundit was found that there are sex differences in object manipulation. The children were put in these conditions and any decision they made was spontaneous and on their own; they were only given a hint after they had failed the task 5 times.

This shows that boys are more likely to participate in object manipulation, and this may be because they spend more time in object-oriented play. The study also found that girls spend more time in social play.

Evolution may play a role in this phenomenon; the differences in play styles between boys and girls manifest into adult behavior. Further, a study by Jadva, Hines, and Golombok showed that while male and female infants show more visual attention towards toys specific to their gender, there is no significant sex difference in color or shape preference at a young age, which suggests that, for example, a preference for the color pink in girls stems more from societal norms than from an innate capacity.

Ruble and Martin showed that there is often cross-gendered play in boys and girls, and this is typical of development. However, it is hypothesized that atypical gendered play patterns, such as a boy who plays almost exclusively with dolls and not typical masculine toys and who prefers to play with girls over boys, are an indication of later homosexuality.

Lindsey and Jacquelyn Mize, context can have a big effect on the types of activities children will partake in.


For example, this article outlines that if parents associate certain household tasks with gender unintentionally, the child can get an idea that certain things are "masculine" and "feminine.

This can effect gender roles in childhood.

An analysis of the development of gender roles in children

During the procedure, two feminine and two masculine toys were presented to individual children: Based on a pretest, the dolls and trucks were clearly recognized as feminine and masculine, as well as attractive and unattractive based on their quality.

All children preferred the new toy when presented with a pair of singularly gendered toys. Children were first given a toy preference test, then a gender constancy interview, and then a gender-role norms interview.The aim of this Gender Training Toolkit is the systematic integration of gender equality sensitivity, awareness and analysis into World Vision ministry.

Still, 30 years on, we’re not exactly sitting on a superior answer for measuring the movie industry’s gender imbalance. What does the next Bechdel Test look like? The Effects of Gender Roles in Early Childhood Development In early childhood development gender roles and gender stereotyping are a part of a child’s everyday life.

Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology indicate that children play an important role in developing. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a specific project, organisation or even a whole sector.

This analysis leads to a richer understanding of what the project or organisation can offer, the key weaknesses that need to be worked upon in order to succeed, and where to bring . Gender roles are the social and behavioral norms considered appropriate in social situations for people of different genders.

An understanding of these roles is evident in children as young as age 4 and are extremely important for their social development. Gender roles are influenced by the media, family, environment, and society. Gender stereotypes in mass media. Case study: Analysis of the gender stereotyping phenomenon in TV commercials.

Gender Development