Gender Socialisation

Socialization and Gender bias in the Family, School and Society

Socialization and Gender bias in the Family, School and Society

Socialization and Gender bias in the family, school and society is an important topic for B.Ed students. Read the article for the full notes on this topic. Moreover, if you want to read more B.Ed notes, browse the site.

Socialization and Gender bias in the Family

We know that family is the first and foremost agency of socialisation of the children. It is through the social learning in the families children turns into a social being form a biological being. Socialisation begins just after the birth of the child and continues throughout his life. Therefore, the child’s family plays an important role in his socialization. The parents teach the ideals and beliefs of the religion which they follow. Parents have very deep influence on the socialisation of their children. As children grow, they learn how to behave from those around them. It is the parents who are basically surrounded around the child. It is the parents who help children start giving recognition to the rules, laws, codes, traditions, customs and norms of the society.

Gender Socialization

But it can not be denied that gender socialisation by the parents is not free from biases. Some aspects of biased gender socialisation by the parents in the family can be summarized as under-


i. Girls are learnt to be passive, ignorant, docile, emotional helpmates for men by the parents right from the childhood.


ii. Parents often unconsciously treat their female and male children differently.


Iii. Children are often dressed in gender stereotypical clothes and colours by the parents- boys are dressed in blue and girls are dressed in pink.


iv. Parents typically supply gender stereotypical toys to their children. They supply boys with trucks, toy guns and superheroes; while daughters are often given dolls or cooking toys to play with.


v. In most of the families even oday girls are discouraged from playing sports like football or from playing ‘rough and tumble’ games.

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vi. Parents often ask the boys not ‘to cry like a baby or like a girl’.


Vii. In the families, the behaviour of girls like their girls sitting, standing, talking, interacting, gesture all are controlled by the parents than the boys.


Viii. Generally, more restrictions are imposed upon girls than the boys after they recieve puberty.


ix. Travelling or outing freedom are given more to boys than the girls.


x. Parents often expect their sons to engage in the professions like- madicine, engineering, management and regarding the daughter, they expect them to engage more in social and household activities.

Gender socialisation is a more focused form of socialisation. It is how children of different sexes are socialised into their gender roles. On the basis of the above aspects of socialisation, by the family, we can say that the entire socialisation process conditions girls to believe that they are inferior and subordinate to men. Since, these roles are simply learned, efforts should made to create more equal societies by unlearning social roles. Therefore, it is hold that feminists should aim to diminish the influence of socialisation.

Socialization and Gender bias in the School

The next environment that the children enters is the school where a conscious socialisation happens. The school books from the very beginning are gender stereotyped and these are reinforced throughout their school life. Schools are major context for gender socialisation because children spent most of their times engaged in the activities of the school and with their peers. Schools effect the socialisation process i two ways-


i. Through the teachers,

And ii. Through the peers.

Both of thing directly influence gender differentiation by providing boys and girls with different learning opportunities and feedback. Teachers present curricular materials that contain gender stereotypes and peer’s exhibit gender stereotypic attitudes and behaviour. Children internalize such stereotypes and prejudices which in turn guide their own preferences and behaviour.

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Teacher’s gender stereotypes and prejudices shape their classroom behaviour in at least three ways-


i. First, teachers’ often model gender stereotypic behaviour that influence the young minds.


ii. Second, teachers’ often exhibit different expectations for boys and girls.


Iii. Thirdly, teachers’ facilitate children gender bias by marking gender as important by using it to label and organise students.


Like teachers, peers also contribute to the socialisation of gender difference in a number of ways-

Upon entering school, children encounter large number of peers, many of whom model traditional gender behaviour producing and reinforcing the content of gender stereotypes. In addition, schools are characterized by gender segregation. When many peers are available, children tend to select some sex playmates, leading them to spent more time in stereotypical ways. This also predicts children’s future conformity to gender stereotypes. Both boys and girls conform to such stereotypes as failure to do so leads to verbal harassment and physical aggression. 

Socialization and Gender bias in the Society

The third factor of socialisation is the society or the community to which every person belongs. The child learns root norms and desirable behaviour patterns through his membership to the community in which he is born or he is living. From such experiences children receive messages about gender roles. As they grow and come into a close relationship with his community, many of the believes and ideas are reinforced by those around them. Traditionally our society’s are male dominated and so socialisation through the agency of the community is gendered. Gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in the families social structure which is again rooted in the society. 

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Society inflict gender roles in a number of ways-


Society provides stereotypical training in dress codes, both boys and girls but the norms are more rigid for the girls. They are supposed to dress according to their age and to maintain the gravity of their femininity. In patriarchal societies, girls are viewed as liabilities and trained to be subordinate to the boys. It expects the boys to take leadership roles while performing social activities. The society also fix the time and the space for the girls, whereas, it has no such restriction for the boys.. therefore the society typically socialises the children in such a way that choices and opportunities are limited for the female sex whereas no such impositions on the freedom of choice and opportunities for the male sex.

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