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Outline and evaluate two explanations of the development of gender roles

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Outline and evaluate two explanations of the development of gender roles A gender role is a set of expectations that prescribe how male and female should behave, think, act and feel. The argument is that why children behave in order of their gender. Is it our parents, peers causing us to behave in that way or it just develop through cognitive process? This could be explained by the Social learning theory and the cognitive development theory. These two theories are quite different to each other as social learning theory is focused on the people around us affect our behaviour and the cognitive which gives the idea that as we grow up we learn the concepts of our gender. Social learning theory gives us an idea of how gender is learned through direct and indirect reinforcement. It suggests that our parents do have influence on our gender role. Children learn gender appropriate and gender behaviour through reward and punishment. Parents may encourage their children to behave according to their gender. For e.g. ...read more.


We can't be sure which thing causes the other thing. There might be some other reason for this correlation. This theory's main idea is that children learn their gender appropriate and behaviour through the media and parents. This theory can be used to help reduce gender role stereotypes. 'Counter conditioning refers to attempts to present children with non-traditional stereotypes, such as female going to office and man doing household jobs. But the effectiveness may be low as it is an indirect reinforcement; they will be most affected by their direct reinforcement. Children would prefer to behave in a way their parents wants them rather than what TV shows them. Leary's experiment is an artificial research, so largely removed from natural situations and overlooks the fact that children may actually pay little attention to adult models of gender behaviour, especially when they are too young, they may not answer properly to the researcher as they don't have a knowledge of what researcher is on about. So this have a lack of ecological validity, we are not sure that the findings could be generalise to our real life. ...read more.


Slaby and fred conducted a research with children. They found that children were able to recognise their gender that were around age 3, and the pre-school children were gender consistent. The preschool children focused on same gender model that will provide them with information about gender-appropriate behaviour. These two theories do explain the development of gender role. However it does give any idea of that there could be biological reason for their gender role behaviour. The sequence of gender development, which appears to be universal. Munroe observed the same sequence of identity, stability and constancy in children of many different cultures. This suggests the importance of biological factors in gender role development, which means social learning theory is not a sufficient explanation of gender-role development on its own. Evidence from Martin and Little suggests that Kohlberg was wrong in suggests that children do not begin collecting information about appropriate gender role behaviour before they achieve constancy. Martin and Little found that pre-school children had only very rudimentary gender understanding, yet they had strong gender stereotypes about gender what boys and girls were permitted to d, they had already collected information about gender appropriate behaviour. ...read more.

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