As we grow, we learn how to behave from those around us. In this socialization process, children are introduced to certain roles that are typically

As we grow, we learn how to behave from those around us. In this socialization process, children are introduced to certain roles that are typically linked to their biological sex. The term gender role refers to society’s concept of how people are expected to look and behave based on societally created norms for masculinity and femininity. Gender role socialization begins at birth and continues throughout the life course. Our society is quick to outfit male infants in blue and girls in pink, even applying these color-coded gender labels while a baby is in the womb. One of the most tangible effects of sexism is the gender wage gap. Despite making up nearly half of payroll employment, men vastly outnumber women in authoritative, powerful, and, therefore, high-earning jobs. Even when a woman’s employment status is equal to a man’s, she will generally make only 81 cents for every dollar made by her male counterpart. Women in the paid labor force also still do the majority of the unpaid work at home. On an average day, 84 percent of women (compared to 67 percent of men) spend time doing household management activities. This double-duty keeps working women in a subordinate role in the family structure. The division of labor works to maximize resources and efficiency. A structural-functionalist view of gender inequality applies the division of labor to view predefined gender roles as complementary: women take care of the home while men provide for the family. Thus gender, like other social institutions, contributes to the stability of society as a whole.

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