Explain cultural variations in gender roles



Matsumoto (1994) defines culture as a set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by a group of people and communicated from one generation to the next though cultural practices and language.






Goffman (1977) predicted that gender roles will shift as societies shift from a belief that gender roles are based on biological differences to a belief in general social equality.


Support for this could be research on new male gender roles in Western cultures:




Mead (1935) compared gender roles in three New Guinean tribes.


She argued that masculine and feminine roles are not related to biology but gender role ideology. Cultural differences in gender roles are more likely to reflect cultural expectations than biology.



I would like to point out that societies that accept social inequality seem to accept not only class differences but also social differences between men and women. In societies where males control resources and dominate the political system, women are more likely to conform to the stereotypical gender role.


Gender equality may be the road to change in traditional stereotyped gender roles. The women’s movement for social equality started in individualistic societies and ideas of social equality of men and women have been adopted in most individualist societies.