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Gender Norms and Gender Roles


Gender is a complex system of roles. Identities, qualities, and performances are given as gender meaning in society (He & Zhou, 2018). They are assigned to people according to their characteristics after birth. During an individual’s lifetime, gender characteristics can vary or change over time between different cultures. Social principles that control the behavior of boys, men, girls and women in society are known as gender norms (Hemsing & Greaves, 2020). Gender norms govern the conduct and restrict people from their gender to do different things by considering them inappropriate. They change over time and are not universal or static. Some of the norms are positive, as children are not allowed to smoke, but many of the gender norms are negative and lead to inequality and depression. Men are career-driven, strong, and rational, while women require protection, caring, and emotional (He & Zhou, 2018). All this characterization can be limiting. Gender roles are also actions, attitudes, and behaviors that society finds inappropriate or appropriate for a boy or a girl, a man or a woman to do or practice according to different cultures and traditions (Juran & Trivedi, 2015). People learn gender roles and norms from families, friends, the media, and religious institutions that constantly remind them how to behave, act, look, or play according to their gender. Gender norms and roles affect people negatively in their lives than they affect them positively. Some of the negative effects include their attitudes in relationships, participation in the world work or politics, self-perceptions and also affects children’s behaviors in school; while their only positive impact on people is by making them more caring and peace among each other but only when gender norms and roles are used well (Juran & Trivedi, 2015).

Gender norms and roles negatively affects the attitudes in relationships, which often lead to separations. Society has made men believe that there are masculine. They are not allowed to show weakness, emotions, or even do certain roles in a relationship like cooking, laundry, and feeding the children. On the other hand, women are believed to be emotional, caring, and supportive to their husbands (He & Zhou, 2018). They are also believed to be dependent on their husbands for protection and to provide and are not allowed to work, and if they do, men are paid more for the same position. A man in a relationship will try tough and not show emotions to show society that he is tough, thus hurting his girlfriend or wife, leading to misunderstanding. Although these beliefs differ in different societies and cultures, they all negatively affect relationships, leading to increased divorce rates.

Women’s participation in world work and politics is negatively affected by gender norms and roles, leading to inequality. Society views men as the leaders and women to be their supportive power. Even though women have fought for many years for equality, they have not yet archived it since there are still few women leaders in the government houses, company managements, and non-governmental organizations. It means that society still believes that women are inferior to men and cannot be leaders, which is wrong and fair. Research shows that women’s success in governance is 53% compared to men (Hemsing & Greaves, 2020). Still, society believes women are poor in power or management, making it harder for women to succeed in management or political opportunities. It also affects how women are treated in job environments and their salaries compared to men. For example, in sports, men are played way more than women even if they play the same sport, which is unfair. It is one of the many effects of gender norms and roles on society.

Gender norms and roles also affect self-perceptions and how children are treated in school. People’s characters and behavior change over time, and one may start to behave more like the opposite gender, which is mostly caused by gene imbalance. In a society that believes that some things are appropriate or inappropriate for one to do, it may be difficult for a person whose/her characteristics are changing. For example, a young lady who has grown to like to dress in men’s clothes, boxing, and likes to be around men may have difficulty handling how society will judge her. She may also lose a lot of friends who will not want to be associated with her anymore since their will feel that she is different. It will negatively affect her self-perception and can lead to depression. In schools, gender norms and roles can affect one’s performance in class, school experience, well-being, and subject choice. It can negatively affect how students are treated in school due to their gender, making them miss some of the opportunities. For instance, a young lady can be good in sports but be disappointed by the other ladies who are not good in sports that sports don’t pay women well since the society norms take sports as a male dominance area, thus making her miss her lifetime chance. Also, young men may be disappointed by their teachers who will normally congratulate ladies in their classes for being well behaved and for their good performances while cursing the young men for being naughty and not good in class as it is perceived in society may not be the case sometimes. It is one of the main negative effects of gender norms and roles in society.

In society, gender norms and roles make people more caring and increase peace in society. Men are the providers and protectors of their wives and family, while women are loving and naturing. A family with a father who provides for the family and ensures everyone is okay. A mother who cares for both children and the husband and makes sure everything is naturing on the right way is a peaceful family. It helps everyone know their roles in the family, which reduces family feuds that may lead to divorce, which heavily affects the children’s growth. This means these gender norms and role assumptions can also positively impact society.


In conclusion, gender norms and roles affect people more negatively than positively, affecting their lives negatively. Gender norms and roles are the behaviors, roles, identities, and qualities named appropriate or inappropriate by society. Although these assumptions have some positive effects on individuals in the community, like increasing peace and caring among people, their pose to have more negative effects on the individuals in the society leading to increased inequality. Some negative effects include negative relationship attitudes, women’s participation in work and politics, self-perception, and negative effects in the school environment where students feel different or miss opportunities. To increase equality, people should not believe in gender roles and norms. For example, it should be normal for a woman to be a leader and a man to take care of his kids and show emotions. People will be able to trust themselves more and accept who they are without being judged. We should also educate other communities where these assumptions lead to oppression of different genders, mostly women.


He, G., & Zhou, M. (2018). Gender difference in early occupational attainment: The roles of study field, gender norms, and gender attitudes. Chinese Sociological Review50(3), 339-366.

Hemsing, N., & Greaves, L. (2020). Gender norms, roles and relations and cannabis-use patterns: A scoping review. International journal of environmental research and public health17(3), 947.

Juran, L., & Trivedi, J. (2015). Women, gender norms, and natural disasters in Bangladesh. Geographical Review105(4), 601-611.


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