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Biosocial Approach Gender Development. Gender Characteristics, whether biological or socially influenced, by which people define male and female . Women . Men. Describe themselves in more relational terms Experience more relationship-linked emotions More empathetic

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GenderCharacteristics, whether biological or socially influenced, by which people define male and female
  • Women
  • Men
  • Describe themselves in more relational terms
  • Experience more relationship-linked emotions
  • More empathetic
  • Gravitate toward jobs that reduce inequalities
  • Focus on tasks and on connections with large groups
  • Respond to stress with “fight or flight” response
  • Gravitate toward jobs that enhance inequalities
division of labour
Division of labour

Why are men seen as the “breadwinners” or hunter gatherers?

Why are women often given the role of homemaker and child minder?

Does our society today still benefit from gender roles or is it becoming more similar?


Agta Tribe


Aka Tribe





women during the wars
Women during the Wars
  • Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Tank drivers
  • Building ships
  • Working in factories - making bombs and aircraft parts
  • Air raid wardens
  • Driving fire engines
  • Plumbers
  • Ambulance drivers
  • WRVS volunteers
  • Nurses
biosocial theory
Biosocial Theory

Parental expectations

Money and Ehrhardt (1972)

social role theory
Social Role Theory

Eagly and Wood (1999)

what about sex differences in mate choice
What about sex differences in mate choice?
  • Resources
  • Domestic
  • Compliment

each other


Gender and Mating Preferences

    • Men seek out quantity
      • Spreading genes widely
    • Women seek out quality
      • Protecting and nurturing of offspring

Equal Pay

  • Maternity cover
hormonal differences
Hormonal differences

Are these differences a cause or an outcome?

Eagly and Wood (2002) – hormonal differences may be an outcome of social roles e.g. testosterone as a result of engaging in more active and competitive activities


Gender and Hormones

    • Gender gap in aggression seems influenced by testosterone
    • As humans age they become more androgynous
      • Mixing both masculine and feminine characteristics
social constructionist approach
Social Constructionist Approach

Eagly and Wood

Human behaviour is mainly an invention or outcome of a particular society or culture

Behaviours are best explained in the context in which thy occur

Luxen (2007)

High ethical appeal if sex roles are perceived as more flexible


Buss (1989)

37 cultures examined

10,000 people

  • Women desire mates with good financial prospects
  • Men placed more evidence on physical attractiveness and youth- fertility and obedience
  • Both look for intelligence, kindness and loyal/dependable

(supports evolutionary)

Eagly & Wood (1999)

  • Used Gender Empowerment Measure
  • When women had higher status (more equal) – mating preferences become less pronounced
  • Therefore social roles are driving force in psychological sex differences

However, Gangestad et al (2006)

Re-examined same data

Gender equality not related to sex


Therefore evolutionary theory better


  • Gender Role
    • Set of behavior expectations (norms) for males and females
    • Gender roles vary over culture
    • Gender roles vary over time
  • Peer-Transmitted Culture
    • 50 percent of individual variations in personality traits is by parental nurturing
    • The other 50 percent is peer influence