Gender stereotypes and role assignment have a strong impact on the development of gender in young children. Gender stereotyping is the process by which society assigns roles, expectations, values, and characteristics to people based upon their sex (Hines & Allen 2004). From birth, children learn that certain aptitudes, behaviors, and appearances are more acceptable or valued than others when they observe how adults interact with those of different genders. For example, traditional gender roles often assign males as the family’s breadwinner while assigning females with domestic tasks such as cooking and cleaning (Hines & Allen 2004). These examples can influence a child’s perception of what it means to be a “boy” or “girl.”
what is the impact of gender stereotypes and gender role assignment on gender development in young children?
The effects of these gender stereotypes extend into education settings where girls are encouraged to pursue traditionally feminine careers such as nursing or teaching while boys are pushed towards STEM fields (Gorostiaga et al 2017). This type of gendering limits the possibilities for students regardless of their inherent talents or interests because they must conform to societal expectations rather than choosing opportunities that match their own strengths. Similarly, dress codes that explicitly dictate what types of clothing boys and girls may wear reinforce narrow interpretations about how each gender should present themselves in public spaces; for instance some schools require girls to wear skirts while allowing boys to wear slacks (Gorostiaga et al 2017).
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