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To what extent would you explain gender differences in terms of gender socialization?

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Introduction

Course : Introduction to Sociology (SOCI1001) Lecturer : Dr. LEUNG Benjamin Tutor : Marketa Moore Tutorial : Tues 11:30- 12:30 Topic : Gender Inequality Term Essay Question: To what extent would you explain gender differences in terms of gender socialization? Lai Wai Tung Christy University No.: 2003370183 Department of Sociology Faculty of Social Sciences The University of Hong Kong Introduction --- The Nature and Nurture Explanation We are living in the world with gender difference, though the difference is varied from one culture to another. Sociologists often explain gender difference in terms of the Nature and the Nurture Explanation. Nature Versus Nurture Explanation also called the Genetic versus Environmental Controversy, questions if the difference in behavior of male and female is due to their genetics (Nature) or their environment or ways of upbringing (Nurture). Some phenomenon of gender stereotypes is better explained by the Nature Explanation while most of them can be explained well by the Nurture Explanation. Though genetics do play a role in separating the actions and behaviors of males and females, it is only to a certain extent; most differences between the sexes are based on differential socialization of men and women. In this essay, it explains a little about the Nature Explanation but focus on the Nurture Explanation. It attempts to give validity to the nurture side by showing evidences that gender roles are a product of gender socialization. Firstly, it gives concrete examples of socialization in our daily lives. Then, the causes of gender difference and gender roles stereotypes will be examined by the Social Learning Theory and Cognitive Development Theory. At the end, the criticism of socialization and the recent change in socialization will also be stated. The Nature Explanation The Nature Explanation was proposed by Steven Goldbery. He argued that anthropological record shows that all human societies past and present have been patriarchies, that is, societies in which men dominate women. ...read more.

Middle

Research has found out that daughters directly internalize their mothers' attitudes because they perceive these attitudes to be realized in the practice of their mother's daily life. (Carine, 1998). The internalization of altitude of girls is stronger than that of boys as fathers have high chance to go out for work and lowers the chances for their boys to imitate. In addition, parents may consciously or unconsciously have special expectations of their boys and girls and attempt to teach a child appropriate gender role behaviour. Research shows that the more traditional the gender role attitudes of a mother, the stronger her tendency to emphasize a daughter's conformity, and the more traditional her daughter's attitudes appear to be a mother's conformist orientation substantially contributed to the extent in which daughters develop a more traditional view on gender roles. (Carine, 1998) 2,2 Gender Role Stereotypes in Occupation Gender is often attached to different social positions and occupations in several ways. This results in gender inequality in work (Haralambos, 1995): According to the Human Capital Explanation, Women are less committed to paid employment as women are generally not considered as "human capital3" by most employers. Employers believe that women, who has been socialized to be home-centred, marriage-centred and child-centre, are less committed to their work. Thus, they are often employed in the secondary labour market with lower pay, job security and promotion prospects. On the other hand, there are expected roles of men and women at work. For instance, in cultures of many countries, women are usually considered at jobs as nurses, social workers, flight attendants, domestic workers, etc because these jobs involve nurturing and sensitivity that are associated with femininity. (Abbott, 1992); by coincidence, most of the jobs associated with women rank lower in the society, thus people claim that women are being discriminated by taking up lower levels of the occupational hierarchy. For men, they are usually considered better engineers, politicians, bureaucrats as they are socialized to be more logical, rational, independent and capable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conclusion: Strike A Good Balance To conclude, many daily examples have proved that socialization is the evil for most cases of gender difference. It portrays the expected image of male and female in one culture and also restrict their thinking, behaviour and lives in a number of ways. As given in the previous paragraph "Criticism of Socialization", many problems may arise when stereotypes are seen as ideals for behaviour which makes people follow blindly. It seems that socialization is an inevitable evil deep rooted in our norms and values. Thus, it is important to strike a balance: we can live under the effect of socialization but we should avoid serious gender stereotypes. Only by doing so, we can build up a healthy society where gender differences and inequality can be minimized. Reference Abbott Marie Richmond (1992). Masculine and Feminine: Gender Roles over the life cycle, McGraw-Hill, Inc. Bryant, Adam & Check, Erika (2000). How Parents Raise Boys and Girls. Newsweek: Your Child, p. 64-65. Carine T. G. M. (1998). Maternal Influence on Daughter's Gender Role Attitudes. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. February, p. 1-13. Dictionary of critical Sociology, from http://www.public.iastate.edu/~rmazur/dictionary/m.html Haralambos Michael (1995). Sociology: Themes and Perspectives, Chap.10, p. 614-624 Reiter Rayna (1980). Social Scientific Views, Women and Men in Society, D.Van Nostrand Company, New York. Renzetti, C. & Curran, D (1999). Gender Socialization. Feminist Philosophies (Second Edition). Ed. Janet Kourany, James Sterba, and Rosemarie Tong. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 4-25 Richardson, Laurel Walum. (1988). Learning the culture, The Dynamics of Sex and Gender: A Sociologist Perspective, 3rd edition, Harper & Row. Coltrane R&C (2001). Early Childhood Gender Socialization, from http://www.soc.iastate.edu/Soc327a/R&C-chap4.pdf 1 Masculinity: Traditional men view their role in life to support the family and to be competitive, strong and resistant in the society. (Dictionary of critical Sociology) 2 Femininity: Traditional women view their role in life to center around the family; mother, home-maker, supportive wife and care-giver to the handicapped and elderly in the extended family. (Dictionary of critical Sociology) 3 Human beings are "human capital"when they can be used to earn profit and more money. ...read more.

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