Social context / influences into gender role Essay Plan


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  • Created on: 17-01-12 15:15
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Social Context of Gender Role
· Attempting to explain gender through social factors alone would not provide a
sufficient explanation but it is clear the influence of society is important in helping us
to understand how gender roles have changed over time and across cultures
· Explains why some gender differences have persisted
· Social factors lay down boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and
so set gender appropriate behaviour
· Albert Bandura (1977, 1986) put forward the Social Learning Theory - development
of gender occurs as result of child's social experiences
· Children learn to behave in ways that are rewarded by other, avoid behaviours
punished by others - direct tuition
· Society with expectations on gender appropriate behaviour operates on socially
delivered rewards and punishments (praise and criticism for example) tends to
produce gender stereotypes and behaviour accordingly
· Children can learn these stereotypes through observing actions of various models of
the same gender, observational learning.
· SLT contrasts with cognitive developmental theory stating rewarding behaviour is
behaviour others regard as rewarding rather than rewards are gained from doing
things that fit one's own concept of gender identity
· First and so most important socialising influence on gender roles
· Their experiences and stereotypes of how a boy / girl should behave have a lasting
impact on our gender schemas
· Fagot and Leinbach (1989) longitudinal study where parents encouraged gender
appropriate behaviour / discouraged gender inappropriate behaviour even before age
of two, (girls play with dolls, boys climb trees etc) parents who made most us of
direct tuition had most gender stereotyped children
· Lytton and Romney (1991) reviewed numerous studies on parental treatment of boys
and girls, modest tendency for parents to encourage gender-stereotyped behaviour
- both received equal parental warmth, encouragement of achievement, discipline
and interaction
· Perry and Bussey (1979) children 8-9, watched male and female adult models
choose between gender neutral activities, afterwards children had a tendency to
make same choices as same sex models. Barkley et al. reviewed the literature,
finding children showed bias in favour of same sex model only 18 / 81 studies
· Direct tuition also used by other children
· Fagot (1985) behaviour of children between 21 and 25 months, boys made fun of
other boys who played with dolls, girls didn't like when another girl started playing
with a boy
· Similar pressures from peers amongst older children in years before adolescence,
those who fail to behave in gender stereotyped way are least popular

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· Teacher's beliefs in children may be important social influences in shaping children's
behaviours - have their own stereotypes and schemas, role in expectations of boys'
and girls' behaviour and academic abilities
· Pankhurst (1994) expectation of teachers - boys misbehave in class, belittle female
peers, dominate situation but more boys are identified as being `gifted' even if
records for boys and girls are equal
· Huston (1983) primary school, girls received less disapproval than boys even though
their…read more

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Unitel and Multitel but not by as much - appears to be presence of TV rather than
number of channels that's important - don't know types of programme watched
throughout time
· SLT takes into full account the social context in which development of gender
occurs, claims some gender appropriate behaviour is avoided if discouraged or
punished.…read more


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