The Influence of Biological, Cultural, and Social Factors on Gender essay

TheInfluence of Biological, Cultural, and Social Factors on Gender Roles

TheInfluence of Biological, Cultural, and Social Factors on Gender Roles

Differentcommunities have norms that dictate the kind of behavior thatindividual members of the society should adopt depending on theirgender. Ancient communities allocated different roles to male andfemale members of the society because they believed that people fromthe two genders were gifted differently. However, current studieshave disapproved this notion by indicating that the intellectualdifference between sexes is too small to justify the allocation ofroles on the basis of gender (Pollitt, 1995). In this paper, thebiological, cultural, and social factors that shape gender roles willbe discussed.

Biological,cultural, and social factors

Thetendency of men and women to develop preference for different rolesis influenced by a combination biological, cultural, and socialfactor. Biological factors (including hormones and brainlateralization) influence the type of gender roles that one willassume by facilitating the development of feminine or masculineidentifies (Pollitt, 1995). Hormones play a critical role inpredisposing individuals to either the masculine or a feminineidentity. The aspect of brain lateralization, on the other hand,indicates the relationship between the way the brain functions andthe preference for certain roles. For example, boys tend to be moresuccessful in math as well as spatial skills, while girls are moreflexible (Pollitt, 1995). Individuals from the two genders assumeroles that are in line with the functionality of their brain.

Thesocial environments in which children are brought up determine theirpreferences to different gender roles. The home is considered as thefirst institution of learning for all children (Kincaid, 2003). Thisis because parents and caregivers spend more time with childrenduring their tender age and at the developmental phases in whichthese kids are eager to understand the basics of life. Parents andcaregivers who create a social environment that separate male andfemale roles help children believe that there are functions thatshould only be performed by individuals of specific gender.

Somechildren are brought up in communities that hold cultural beliefsregarding separation of roles on the basis of gender differences.Members of such communities develop cultural expectations of what awoman or a man should do and how to behave at home and inprofessional settings (Kincaid, 2003). Failure to meet this culturalexpectation is considered as deviance. Therefore, biological,cultural, and social factors are important in shaping gender roles.

Howwomen are more restricted by conventional gender roles

Manycommunities still believe that women and men have different roles toplay in the family and community settings. However, the division ofroles on the basis of gender restricts women more than men. Most ofthe communities allocate domestic roles to women while men areexpected to play professional roles. Girls are taught how to cook,washing clothes, and maintain houses (Kincaid, 2003), while boys areintroduced to the tasks that prepare them for professional jobsduring their early stages of development. The feminist movements haveplayed a critical role of encouraging girls to take courses that willempower them to take the male-dominated careers. However, it isevident that women are still taking more time carrying out domesticroles than their counterpart males. Recent studies indicate thatthere exists a small cognitive difference between genders (Pollitt,1995). However, it is likely that the significance of conventionalgender roles will keep on reducing. Therefore, more women will befree from oppression and be able to get professional careers.

Waysin which gender roles have influenced me negatively

Aperception that roles should be assigned to individuals depending ontheir gender determine the type of career that one wants to pursue.In my case, I grew up hearing that nursing is a women career.However, I always wished to pursue a career that could allow me tointeract with both male and female professionals. However, theexpectation of the many members of the society who believe that womenare better suited by careers in nursing was a discouragement to me. Iovercame this challenge by conducting an online research on thenumber of male registered nurses. This helped me discover that about9.6 % of the nurses in the U.S. are male, and their proportion hasbeen increasing at 3.9 % annually (Landivar, 2010). This gave me theconfidence that I will still have a chance to collaborate with maleand female professionals by pursuing a career in nursing.


Biological,cultural, and social factors play a critical role in shaping theconcept of gender role. Biological factors (including the hormones)facilitate the development of feminine or masculine identities.Parents and caregivers shape the children’s perception about genderroles starting from their early stages of development by instructingthem on what they should and what they should not do. Similarly,different communities have cultural expectations of roles that peopleof different genders play in their homes or in the society. Childrenwho grow up with the perception that one’s behavior should bedetermined by gender identity experience difficulties when selectingcareers.


Kincaid,J. (2003). Girl.Boston: Bedford.

Landivar,L. (2010). Menin nursing occupations: American community survey highlights report.Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.

Pollitt,K. (1995, October 8). HERS: Why boys don’t play with dolls. TheNew York Times.Retrieved May 29, 2016, from