How are boys and girls taught appropriate gender roles?
Question # 1
How are boys and girls taught “appropriate” gender roles? Who are the main factors involved in the teaching of these roles? What might happen if children stray from these roles? How might the differing roles being taught to children ultimately cause stress in the adult relationships?
Question # 2
Describe the two types of child care (home-based daycares and Center-based daycares )
What are the basic components of each? How do they differ? Which, in your opinion, is the best option for daycare for your child?
Even if you are not familiar with the concept of “gender socialization”, it is most likely that you have been influenced by it and in turn passed on your own beliefs about what constitutes gender-appropriate attitudes and behaviour to others. Gender socialization begins at birth, intensifies during adolescence and contributes to gender inequalities in education, employment, income, empowerment, and other significant outcomes of well-being during adolescence and later in life, argues a recently published discussion paper by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and the International Centre for Research on Women.
The paper enriches our understanding of gender socialization by bringing together theories from psychology, sociology and biology and reviewing significant historical and population shifts to provide a more holistic picture of how gender socialization happens and who the major “agents” (e.g. family members, peers, community leaders) and structures (e.g. political structures, cultural and social norms, global media) of influence are – during adolescence and beyond.
Before exploring the framework developed in the paper and its application to programming and policy-making, let us reflect on what gender socialization is and how it manifests in everyday life. The paper defines gender socialization as a “process by which individuals develop, refine and learn to ‘do’ gender through internalizing gender norms and roles as they interact with key agents of socialization, such as their family, social networks and other social institutions.”
A key component of this process is the internalization and acting out of gender norms. To illustrate how this happens, we asked friends from around the world (via social media) for examples of how boys and girls are socialized differently in their culture, if at all. In early childhood, parents and caregivers may dress male and female children in different colours (e.g. pink for girls and blue for boys in Italy) or give them different toys to play with (e.g. cars for boys, dolls for girls in the Czech Republic).
A friend from Bulgaria shared that people there often comment on the appearance of little girls (“You are so pretty; “What a nice dress you have”), while they are more likely to point out the activities and abilities of boys (“You run so fast”; “You are so strong”).