Gender roles: Breaking the shackles

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Consciously you might not be familiar with the term of gender roles, but subconsciously, this term which has given birth to a greater algorithm, has been a part of society’s context all along, in the way that men and women are looked upon and in which their personas are analyzed in quite a generalized manner.

The literal meaning of this term is surrounding a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on that person’s biological or perceived gender. 

Why is it that when we think of a particular profession or chore, all we can do is, link it to one particular gender and thinking about the other gender carrying out that specific task just automatically sounds odd and extremely out of place and even if we are not the ones thinking about it this way, why is it that the society still frowns upon the idea of not having a specific gender carry out a specific role almost as if it was assigned to them?

Equality, a debate still being carried out and a war still being fought even in 2020 without any long term significant fruitful changes especially in the country we reside in, Pakistan, where the concept of men and women being looked at as human beings and not members of a theatrical performance, playing out their appointed roles and sticking to their specific positions, is still a controversial thought.

The society and the system that surrounds us, has so deeply inserted the roots of its beliefs and ideas into us, that to think of stuff and situations just any other way, sounds extremely out of place; an environment that is violently allergic to any good and right change brought about to its extremely cancerous concepts, breathes down our necks without us making any specific notice of its presence until the facts from the daily lives of various individuals are brought by which makes us focus more on the toxicity of the ‘gender roles’ we are all playing.

Cooking, and if this mention immediately made you think of women and if the phrase ‘riding a motorcycle’ of men, then chances are that the same fragments of patriarchy have been drilled into you which have been passed on by generations of our existence.

No significant deal of progress has been made toward gender equality, and this progress is particularly evident in the workplace. There also is no question that the goal of full gender equality has not yet been achieved – neither at pay nor at position levels.


According to an interview study with female managers the bulk of hurdles for women’s advancement that were recognized were repercussions of gender stereotypes. There is an extended history of research in psychology that corroborates this finding. These investigations further strengthen the thought that gender stereotypes are often an obstruction to women’s career advancement, promoting both gender bias employed decisions and women’s self-limiting behavior. This study is intended to scrutinise this state of gender stereotypes about males and females employing a multidimensional framework. Much of the first research on the content of gender stereotypes was conducted several decades ago, and newer research findings are inconsistent, some are suggesting that there has been a change in traditional gender stereotypes while others are suggesting that there has been no change. 

The conflict in these findings may derive partially from the main target on different facets of those constructs in several studies. Therefore, as to get a more complete picture of the precise content of today’s gender stereotypes, agency and communality have to be treated as multidimensional constructs.

Gender stereotypes are generalizations about what men and women like, and there typically may be a batch of consensus about them. Consistent with social role hypothesis, gender stereotypes are acquired from the discrepant distribution of men and women into social roles both within the home and at work. For a long time there has been a gendered division of labor, and it has existed both in foraging societies and in additional socioeconomically complex societies. Within the domestic sphere, women have performed the majority of routine domestic work and played the caretaker role. In the workplace, women have attended to be utilized in people-oriented, service occupations instead of things-oriented, competitive occupations, which have traditionally been tenanted by men. This contrasting distribution of men and women into social roles, and therefore the inferences it prompts about what women and men are like, produce gender stereotypical conceptions.

Accordingly, men are characterized as more agentic than women, taking charge and being on top of things , and women are characterized as more communal than men, being attuned to others and building relationships. During the last decades, agency (also mentioned as masculinity, instrumentality or competence) and communality (also mentioned as communion, femininity, expressiveness, or warmth) have consistently been the main target of research. These dual credos of social perception are contemplated fundamental to gender stereotypes.

Confining a person’s being to a selected role for the rest of their lives is like placing a bird in a cage. Therefore, it’s extremely crucial to interrupt the stereotypes around gender roles and let the individuals themselves decide and fully display their own unique traits, freely and with no hindrance and or hesitation of any kind, and, hopefully, this might just be a serious milestone on the trail of gender equality.

Zaeem Gondal

–The writer is currently studying in A Levels at Aitchison College, Lahore.

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