Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

How Boys And Girls Are Socialized Sociology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 5441 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

Reference this

The purpose of this explanatory research was to study how gender socialisation influences gender inequality. For the analysis, we used unstructured. It was a qualitative study and it was supported by some closed ended questions, which had helped me to do a quantitative analysis as well, that allows a better understanding on the topics. After the analysis, there will the discussion chapter and some recommendation.

Our major finding upon this research is that, gender socialisation leads to enlarge gender inequality. But however, it helps women to maintain their primary roles which help to maintain a healthy society.

Since birth, children are expected to have a few of the qualities, apart from the physical ones, that we expect of human beings “they cannot walk or talk, they don’t know how to eat, to drink, to go to toilet, and they don’t have any idea on politics or sport. In a sociological perspective, human beings are not created in a physical manner only, but they are socially constructed (Moore, 1997). If people were left on their own after birth, merely being fed and physically cared for, they would not develop into recognizable human being. They would not be able to talk, perhaps even to walk, to laugh, or to understand other. In effect, they would merely be animal.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

The process of socialization is mainly divided into two parts. Firstly, there is the primary socialization, which takes place between the individual and the family itself. It relates to the transmission of culture, norms and values from one generation to the next one. Gradually they learn to internalize the correct pattern of behavior, and girls are encouraged to follow the behavior of their mother while boys will be encouraged to imitate their father. Secondly, there is the secondary socialization, where socialization is being shaped by the mass media and school. Children learn proper behavior for girls and boys through parents, the media, the school and other sources of socialization

Gender role socialization may be define as a lifelong process whereby individual learns to internalize the values, attitudes, motivations, and behavior according to their sex which is acceptable and which is regarded to be fair in their culture. Gender role socialization takes place from earliest childhood through adolescence and throughout all social interactions in which we participate.

As soon as a child is born, the members of the society begin to influence and mould the child’s beliefs and personality. What changes human beings from animals into the social actor (a term to describe people living in society) whom we recognize as member of society, is the process of socialization. This socialization process begins in childhood, but continues throughout life. The growing child, through contact with others of the society, gradually learns the language, beliefs and behavior of the group in which he/she is brought up. The values and behavior of groups vary, so that the socialization process is different from one society to another.

The growing up of boys and girls, that is, members of the different sexes; their socialization process is not the same irrespective of different cultures we may have (Commonwealth of learning, 2010).

Boys and girls are socialized differently, which can be explained by the “gender socialization”. That is; boys and girls are expected to behave differently, that is according to their gender roles. Task assignment is generally based on the appearance of the genital and the society’s expectation of gender role from different sexes (Wallen and Hasser, 2009) For example: boys are encouraged to play with gun, making him understand that he has no right to fear, but he should rather be strong and aggressive. Whereas, girls are encouraged to play with dolls and kitchen sets miniatures. This is to make the girls understand that she has to be docile, submissive, caretakers, and so on. This is how gender socialization is being socially constructed.

Hence, the gender roles are socially constructed and are considered to be classified in a hierarchical manner, as a male-advantaged gender hierarchy (Wood & Eagly, 2002). The roles that are attributed to men, were often those that make them superior, in form of getting access in controlling resources and in the decision making power, rendering men not only superior dispositional attributes via correspondence bias (Gilbert, 1998), but also higher status and authority as society progressed.

1.3 Problem statement

The process of socialization is a must for each individual in order for him/she to be able to inculcate the society’s norms, values and culture. But, socialization according to sex differentiation, it reinforce gender inequality in our society. Hence gender socialization is being socially constructed and it shows these gender inequalities which had ever been taught to the children since childhood and they develop stereotypical conceptions of both genders, and begin to use these conceptions to organize their knowledge and behavior. Therefore, the enlargement of gender inequality is increasing day by day without arousing anyone’s awareness and this seems to be normal.

1.4 Aims:

The aim of this dissertation is to study how gender socialization within the nuclear family reinforces gender inequality between the rural and the urban within the Mauritian society. It is the study how gender roles are assigned to both sexes and how it impacts males’ dominance and women’s subordination.

1.5 Objectives:

To conduct a comprehensive literature review on gender socialization and gender inequality.

To analyze how gender socialization between boys and girls differ within family.

To determine the unconscious trend within family and its direct impact on gender inequality.

To investigate about the relation this may exist between gender socialization and gender inequality, in the Mauritian Society.

To propose recommendations and this may help to reduce gender inequality and how to improve gender socialization.


Chapter 2 focuses on the literature review and gives insights and ideas about gender socialisation and gender inequality, about different views and perspective, different researcher and in the context of Mauritius. This chapter provides profound discussions about how these technologies have become a must in the life of these teenagers.

Chapter 3 provides a complete description of the approach of the approach of the research methodology. The techniques to collect the data within families are also presented. The difficulties encountered in gathering the data are also pointed out.

Chapter 4 presents the analysis and findings from the data collected from the respondents and give an indication about the main issues emerging from this topic.

Chapter 5 ultimately concludes the dissertation and deals with the recommendations.



In literature review section, it will be based on many researchers’ views and analysis, which will explain the relationship between gender socialization and gender inequality. We will see if ever the process of socialization between boys and girls are the same, and if “no”, therefore to which extent it is differ. Different researcher will explain as well the relationship between gender socialization and gender inequality.

Gender socialization is the way how males and females are socialized differently, according to their specific sex and specific task are assigned to specific sexes, which gradually leads to gender inequality.

2.1 Theories on Gender Socialistion and Gender Inequality

According to the functionalist (2012), they argued that gender inequality should exist in a society. Women’s role is to stay at home in order to socialize their children, so that society can progress. Parson (1955) called the role of women within the family as expressive. Therefore it is their duty to stay at home and to take care of their children. Parsons (1995) argued that women are more suited to stay at home and to look after the socialization of the children because they give birth and are naturally closer to their children. The fact that women give birth and become mother is an important relationship towards their children. The functionalist also stated that children are psychologically damaged by the absence of their natural mother or mother substitute, during their early years. Therefore, men and women are socialized in different ways in order for them to learn their roles when they will become adult (Macionis, 2000).

According to Talcott Parson (1955), inequality should exist in our society. It is for the benefit of women due to the expressive role that they are assigned. Thus, referring Oakley (1974) argument on gender socialization which enlarges gender inequality in society, but according to Parson (1955) viewed on gender inequality; the process of gender socialization should be continued.

A study of Murdock (1949), a functionalist, in 224 societies, argue that man do hunting, heavy work and engage in welfare, while women do the gathering, cooking, repairing clothes and carrying water. This result from practical reasons that men are stronger and they are not burdened by pregnancy and nursing children. Murdock (1949) argued that there are sexual divisions of labour that exist between men and women due to their biological differences.

On the other side, Gilman (2012), they argued that the gender inequality had develop since childhood, through the process of socialization, where boy are encourage to be aggressive whereas girls are taught to docile. They state that the female subordinate on society, result from the emergence of private property (Engels, 1972). In order to pass the wealth, men need to control women; to impose their power (Engels, 1972). Therefore, according to Marxist (Sharon Smith, 1997), women are exploited at work and as well at home, because of the capitalist society. The Marxist and the Socialism (n.d.) theory argued that in order to stop the gender inequality, the capitalist society must be replaced by the communist society. This is because; there will be equal opportunities and no discrimination for neither toward males nor females.

Gender inequality has been due to the process of gender socialization (Gilman 2012). In Mauritius itself, a friend of my dad, living at Camp de Masque Pavé, owned a field of pineapple. He said that in his field and in general, women are paid less than men even when they are both performing the same job.

2.2 Biological v/s Social Constructions

There is difference between sex and gender. Sex refers to the biological differences of their genital between both males and females. Whereas gender, it is socially constructed and both males and females are expected to have different behavior rather than being the investable result of biology. Kessler and Mckenna (1978) argue that the way to which society sees people as male or female: the society is already molding the gender role of males and females.

According to Kessler and McKenna (1978), they study how both males and female are differently allocated. Through the studying of transsexuals, this reveals that people who seen biological normal but who feel themselves to be members of the opposite sex. Normally gender and genitals are equated with each other: the connection between males and females are taken for granted. There is lots of evidence which are puts together so that a gender attribution can be made by the observer. People with the appearance and behavior of a female or male will simply be assumed to have appropriate genitals.

The existence of transsexuals means that this assumption is not always accurate. Biologically males, sometimes live as, and are accepted as females.

How then do people decide what gender another person is? According to Kessler and McKenna (1978), there are four factors:

Content of manner of the speech

The way, into which people communicate, both verbal and non verbal communication, are taken into account. Some male-to-female transsexuals have socialized themselves to appear as women and by putting more inflection in their voice and by having more mobile facial movement when talking. Some will [resent themselves as “miss”, to settle any doubt there might be in an observer’s mind.

Public physical appearance

Another important factor in gender attribution is public physical appearance. For ex., female-to-male transsexuals may disguise their breast by wearing baggy clothing or by using strapping.

Past life

The past life’s information that people may provide will help in determining gender attribution. Again, transsexuals have to be careful to avoid suspicion.

Private body

Usually there is a problem in keeping the body covered, but transsexuals may need to avoid certain situations (such as visiting beaches or sharing rooms with others) if they have not change their sex physically.

Talking on the identity of a sex to which they do not belong biologically is difficult and demanding for the transsexuals. For most people, hormones, chromosomes, genitals and gender attributed to them will all coincide. Nevertheless, the exception studied by Kessler and McKenna (1978) demonstrate that even the most basic division; that between male and female, can be seen as being socially constructed.

Kessler and McKenna (1978) argued that process of socialization is still encouraging and enlarging the sex inequality. Even if the society is fighting for gender equality and women’s right, however if the socialization process is not revised, it will be difficult to have gender equality.

2.3 The concept of masculinity

Masculinity had been described as the right way of being an adult male in your society, and the gender socialization of each society varies, Gillmore (1990), argued that masculinity is not only determined by sex but is socially constructed as well. . They state that answer to manhood is linked to the culture of society.

Gilmore (1990) suggests that there are three typical features of masculinity found in the most societies:-

Man: the impregnator

Men’s role is to impregnate women. Therefore, men are expected to take the decision in courtship and sexual encounters. There in competition between men for access to women. Gilmore (1990) give an example in the Turk Islands in the South Pacific, “the Trukese man must be the initiator, to orgasm time and again”. If he fails, the women laugh at him and him and the man is shamed. In Sicily, a real man must have big testicular.

Man: the provider

Men are expected to provide for them and their off spring. In the Mediterranean, Gilmore (1990) argue that “the emphasis on male honor as a domestic duty is widespread” and moreover, in the traditional Greek peasant village, the honor of the fathers rests upon their ability to provide their daughters with large dowries.

Man: the protector

Finally, the way to which men are look like, is the protector. Being only the impregnator and the provider is not enough. They must be a protector for their family as well. Men must protect his family from any dangers and other men where threats may arise. Gilmore (1990) another example, that is in the Sikh Jats of the Punjab adhere strongly to the concept of Izzat, which is a philosophy of life which reflects their paramount concern for male power, in which “a man’s duty is to be stalwart in the defense of his family”.

2.4 Gender Socialisation between males and females

Oakley (1974) stated that how gender socialization in our modern’s industrialization society mold the behavior of boys and girls in different ways, since childhood. She argued that that there are four main ways through gender roles are assigned:

Firstly, there is the manipulation of self concept Oakley (1974), for example: pink color is given to girls whereas blue color is given to boys.

Secondly the direction of girls and boys towards different objects and toys are being canalized in different ways Oakley (1974). Boys are encouraged to play with guns and cars, while girls were encouraged to play with dolls and domestic appliances miniature. Thus, trough canalization, boys are encouraged to have more power than girls, while girls are encouraged to be more docile and caretaker.

Thirdly, there is the “verbal appellation” Oakley (1974), such as “naughty boy” and “beautiful or good girl”. Therefore, these verbal appellations make children identify themselves as a girl should be good and a boy can be naughty.

And finally, different sexes are direct to different activities Oakley (1974). For example: girls are encouraged towards domestic task like cooking, and boys towards masculine task, like washing cars.

Gender socialization starts at birth. It is the process where the individual learn the culture, the norms, and the right pattern of behavior of the society, according to their gender. The process of socialization shaped the behavior of the individual. Different treatment was given to different sexes. In other words, the behavior of boys and girls were dictating by the society’s beliefs, norms and culture. A small story: a young lady will have her first child. When people asked her whether she prefer either a boy or a girl, she has no preferences.  There was a grandmother who was near to here, simply reply: “Oh, hopefully it will be a boy” (Unicef for Children, n.d.)  Gender socialization take place in an unconscious manner, that people don’t even realize that later, it often leads to male dominance and female subordination; that is gender inequality. At an early age, children start to differentiate between male and female. Boys are expected to be brave, have no fear, no cry, unassertive and strong. Despite, girls are taught to be assertive, kind, docile, submissive and “ladylike”. Consciously or unconsciously, there gender inequality as a result gender socialization towards girls. As result, female are being discriminate in term of care they receive toward the availability to “nutritious foods and health care”, thus it creates a feeling that they have to be treated differently than males.  

Find Out How UKEssays.com Can Help You!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

2.5 Culture and socialisation

Patriarchy is still dominating because it is mostly a transmission of culture in our society and it is very difficult to stop gender inequality. Hence, if socialization was made equally between male and female, there would be no patriarchy society. The process of gender socialization between boys and girls, consciously or even unconsciously, it is leading to an enlargement in gender inequality.

Four factors will be explained by Germaine Greer (The Whole Women, 2000), and this will show how patriarchy is maintaining:

Men are more advantageous in sexuality compared to women, that is sexual freedom are for the benefit of man. “There is still and overwhelming emphasis in heterosexuality on the penetration of the vagina by the penis, and an increasing expectation that women will service male sexual fantasies”. The more subtle and varied ways which women gain sexual pleasure are neglected.

Society is still encouraging women to be obsessively concerned with their physical appearance and public image that is to be well dressed and have a well toned figure. For example, women have to shave their legs and their armpits so as to match to the norms and cultures of the society.. In other words, women are simply not allowed to be themselves.

Male dominance leads women in a position so that female to be afraid of man.

Men hate women. Women have very little idea about this hatred. Males’ hatred toward women is a norm. Greer (2000) will argue that “all men hate some women some of the time” and “some men hate all women all the time”. According to her research, she reveal that a quarter of women have experienced domestic violence from male partners. Greer (2000) gives some examples where McDonald was “viciously beaten, raped and attacked with a rusty pick by her male partner”. Furthermore, Jacqueline Newton was attacked by her husband, “who poured hydrochloric acid and paint stripper over her”.

Gender socialization, is shaped by the society itself. Different societies have different ways in the gender socialization process. It depends from cultures, norms and values. Gender socialization, referring to men and its masculinity, there is only a few who attached different meanings to it. Societies can work with a wide variety of definitions of masculinity. For example, in “Djibouti, Mbouti, the concept of masculinity does not require men to be providers and protectors. In Tahiti, men are encouraged to be timid and passive just like women” (Gillmore, 1990).

Hence, the gender socialization starts till birth and it is a continual process. For example: in the east African Samburu tribe (Haralambos and Holborn, 2004), males have to demonstrate their mascunility by showing that they are braves, which is during their adolescents, at the age of 14 to 15. The first test is a circulation ritual which is performed without anesthetic. The boy must not flinch, despite the pain as his foreskin is cut off, or “he is forever shamed as a coward”. Later in manhood the male proves himself by rustling cattle from other tribes, this runs the risk of being caught and beaten or even killed by the victims of the rustling. However, it confirms that the male has become manly; it makes him attractive to females, and shows that he will be able to take care of a family.

It is the culture who will decide whether to encourage gender inequality or not. This will be done through the transmission of the socialisation process, which is transmitting from generation to generation.

2.5 Mauritian Culture: Gender Socialisation v/s Gender Inequality

Mauritius long ago, in the traditional society that is for my grand parents or even for my parents, these differences was clearly shown. It was argued that the patriarchy role will be given to their son, which is the inheritance of the father to the son. The father will bring the son to the field, hence; the role of the father is gradually delegated to the son and also all the welfare of the family, it will be the son who will possess it. Whereas the main role of the girl is to stay at home, to help the mother, to learn to cook, to do household chores, to be a care taker. All these are the process of socialization, according to their appropriate gender. It is the son who will inherit all the wealth and property after the death of his parent, whereas the girl had learned to be submissive, caretakers, because one day she will leave his family and get married. She will become a wife and have to manage her household; afterwards a mother and will have to take care of her child. This is the example of my family itself, that of the generation of my parents and my grand parents. Hence, this resume a bit about what Parson (1955) had argued according to the female’s gender role.

In Mauritius, the emerging labor market needs skill and qualification in the scientific and technological field which many of the qualified women do not possess. According to Cartel (1994), he surveyed on Mauritius, revealed that women were far from occupying an equal position with men in the labor market. This means that there is skill discrimination in terms of wages towards women.

From Cartel’s (1994) research itself, the percentage of women’s participation in the labor force is 44.5%, lower than men. It is noted that within the manufacturing sector, women are largely concentrated. There are both vertical segregations, where men are generally at the top level and women generally at the bottom of the company, and the horizontal segregations, where the women concentrated in certain occupation which are forced to be women’s job, for example; secretary’ nursing, pre-primary school’s teacher… That is why according to the process of socialization, female gender are taught to be docile, care takers, hence this will help her in the future, for ex. in her job as a nurses.

With the process of gender socialization, the state, whether, internationally and locally, had found the gap between men and women and they acknowledge that there is gender inequality in our society. This had been caused due to the differences in the process of socialization between both male and female. Therefore, some policies had been taken in order to reduce the gap between both sexes.

I will base myself in line with the Common Country Assessment, Mauritius (May 2000). In 1995, Mauritius has signed an agreement with the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender and Development in regarding some measures which should be implemented in order to meet the objective of gender equality.

Since 1998, in order to decrease the gap between the both sexes, a Gender bureau has been implemented by the Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development (MWFCD), through the Gender Management System.

In recent years, women in Mauritius, was mainly depending on their husband. Many were illiterate and they were found within the primary sectors, in the agricultural and textile industry. Furthermore, even if there are at the secondary sector, still women are occupying second position in their particular sector. Job with a high wages, like, prime minister, director, CEO, and so on, it is mainly reserved for men.

2.6 Conclusion

Even measures are taken to reduce gender inequality, the problem is: if gender socialization is not revised, male dominance will continued. Through gender socialization, the patriarchy society is still maintaining. To have gender equality, socialization between boys and girls should be quite the same; otherwise, working toward gender equality would be in vain.


3.0 Introduction

Socialization is a must for each and every human being. But societies are fighting against gender inequality, because gender socialization favored mostly male. Sex discriminations and gender inequality is one among the social problem and a main cause gender socialization. Thus it is becoming an alarming problem and this is the main reason of conducting such a study. The study is being carried out into three steps:

Definition of research objectives

Development of research plan

Collection of information

Once the objectives have been specified, a most suitable research plan is devised so as to collect the desired information. The design of a research plan basically rests on:

Locating the most appropriate data sources.

Devising the right research approach.

Using the most relevant research instrument.

Adopting the most unbiased sampling procedure.

3.1 Data Sources

In this research, the information to be gathered will be qualitative nature since it deals with gender socialization as quantitative method will also be used to facilitate our research, since based on how boys and girls are socialized, and gender socialization in relation to gender inequality. Harmmersley (1996) argues that while we used both methods like qualitative and the quantitative it helps to cross check the findings produced by the other methods.

In order to gain a better understanding of the current situation to the extent on how gender socialization may lead to enlarge inequality, both secondary and primary data do necessary, in order to gain a better understand of the subject and to have a good groundwork to build on when collecting primary data.

3.2.1 Secondary data

Secondary data is the data that have been already collected and accessible from other sources. The aim was to use as relevant and updated information as possible. In this study, the secondary data were obtained were from the University of Technology’s library; from previous studies made by undergraduates and postgraduates, from textbooks, and from publications and journal articles; like EBSCO and Emerald.

3.2.2 Primary data

Primary data is data that has not been previously published that is the data is derived from a new research study and collected at the source. Thus the aim of our research is to come out with a primary data; about a study on how gender socialization contributes to gender inequality within the extended modified family.

3.3 Qualitative Research

A qualitative research method is know as a category type of research model herby data in the form of descriptive narratives like field notes, recordings or other transcriptions from audio and videotapes and other written records or pictures or film analyzed.

3.3.1 Strength of qualitative research

A qualitative research method allows researcher to have an in-depth study of a social unit.

Researchers normally use the qualitative research methods since they exemplify a common belief that they can provide a ‘deeper’ understanding of social phenomena than would be obtained from a purely quantitative data. Hence, it helps to generate new theories.

Qualitative research helps to recognize social phenomena which have been ignored by most or all previous researchers and literature. In other words, the aim is to present people on their own terms and tries to represent them from their perspective.

3.3.2 Drawbacks of Qualitative Research

Normally it is difficult to generalize the problem under a qualitative research method as fewer people are studied and the sample is limited compared to a quantitative research methodology. As a result, the study cannot be representatives and it is difficult to aggregate data and makes systematic comparison.

Moreover with a qualitative research method the problem arises when the researcher goes categorizing the events or activities described. In other words, this is known as the problem of reliability. Reliability refers to “to the degree of consistency with which instances are assigned to the same category by different observers or by the same observer in different occasions” (Hammersley, 1992:67).

As qualitative studies provide readers with little more than brief persuasive data extracts, the problem of consistency particularly arises because of shortage of means.

Also there may be the problem of validity in such research studies. Validity is another word for truth. Sometimes one doubts the validity of the researcher has clearly made no attempts to deal with contrary cases.

3.4 Triangulation

It is the use of both qualitative and the quantitative methods. Harmmersley (1996) argues that while we used both methods like qualitative and the quantitative it helps to cross check the findings produced by the other methods. In my study, I am using the qualitative method, but quantitative method also will help me in achieving my objectives of this dissertation.

3.5 Reasons why opted for “modified extended family”?

I would like first all to define the “modified extended family”. In twentieth century, in Mauritius, we have mostly the modified extended family, and fewer the other types of families; that’s why our study will base on the socialization process within the modified extended family. The modified extended family is types of family which is similar to the nuclear family, having two generations living under the same roof, but they maintain regular contact through regular visits, phone, social networks, letters/mails (even they live in the Mauritius or abroad), on living the same yard but different houses, or in the same street.

3.6 Research Approach

The most suitable approach to this particular study was t


Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: