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Gender Roles: Nurture vs. Nature

Free Sociology Essays

What Factors Primarily Cause Gender Roles, Biological Factors, or Experiences? (Nurture Vs Nature)

The debates on the factors influencing gender roles have been one of the key inquiries being prevalent in the field of social sciences. The aim has been to establish the link between the gender roles and the influence of nature that refers to the biological aspect and the nurture that pays tribute to the environment/society. Gender roles define what and how different genders engage in daily undertakings within the society, and therefore, to understand the forces behind the various roles taken by genders, various research engagements have been enacted (Alesina et al., 2011). Some share the opinion that it is the biological influence that defines the roles taken while others have concluded that it is the nurture that outlines the roles. Still, there is confusion on the how the gender roles are conceived due to the presence of these two narratives. Therefore, more research needs to be conducted to clarify how the different gender roles come into being within the society. In order to provide thorough, inclusive and objective findings, this research proposal focuses on offering a clear guideline on conducting research aimed at understanding whether nurture or nature have the prominent influence on different gender roles performed by different genders within the society.

Problem Statement and Research Questions

In the current capitalist dominated world, the level of competition is increasing, and this has resulted to realignment both at the societal level and in an individual capacity (Farris, Lee, & Rubinstein, 2004). Different roles are now being handled by different genders, which is a phenomenon that sometimes goes against the expectation of some societies (DeBiaggi, 2002). The problem is that the trendsetters in many societies are still basing their attitude and opinions on the fact that gender roles are based on being either a male or female (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016). However, societies, which are facing the stiff competition, view gender roles as a relative phenomenon that has a little influence on their roles within the society. The difference in perceptions taken by the elders in society and the new generation has been a source of conflict, for example, where parents have been against their childrens goals of working in areas that fall out of their perception of gender roles.

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Therefore, it is the assertion of this research proposal that there is a clear problem in regard to defining gender roles due to the different perceptions taken as the truth within different societies. Sometimes, this issue is so severe that those who go against the perceived truth are viewed as outcasts (York, 2011), and this is a problem that can be eliminated in the society with the help of a detailed research on nurture not nature influence on gender roles. There is still a high level of resistance regarding changing the perception of gender roles in many societies (Medland, 2016), which can be modified via informing the society. Due to the constant conflict on matters of gender roles, a clear understanding of the issue needs to be achieved, and this is the intention of the research guided by this research proposal.

Research Questions

For the purpose of introducing comprehensive research findings that will illustrate that gender roles are either a factor of nature or nurture, the research at hand will be based on a set of research questions that will guide the inference process. The guiding research questions are the following:

  • What plays the major role in influencing one decision when it comes to choosing a career path?
  • What is the dominant belief about gender roles that the majority of people prescribe to?
  • What is the impact of different perceptions of gender roles in regard to the well-being of people within the society?
  • What forms the basis of understanding of gender role for the majority within a society?
  • What are the prevailing stereotypes of gender roles?
  • Are people changing their perception about gender roles?
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The above research questions will help to introduce multi-perspective findings that will provide helpful understanding on the prevailing opinion in regard to the beliefs people have about gender roles. It will also offer insights on changes manifesting among the people regarding beliefs about gender roles. The inference made centered on the above questions will be sensitive to the historical aspect of the problem and the prevailing attitudes and opinions thereby helping in establishing the desired affirmation that is based on a holistic understanding of the case at hand.

Annotated Bibliography

Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., Nunn, N., & National Bureau of Economic Research. (2011).On the origins of gender roles: Women and the plough. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

The source provides an in-depth analysis of how the current stereotypes on womens role in the society appeared. In addition, the source describes the finding, according to which the prevailing perceived norms in the society on what is right for women to engage in emanated from the early form of division of labor. Along with that, the source sheds light on how immigrants in the USA have changed the female role through a keen study on females of second-generation immigrants.

Relevance to The Research

The source examines the forces behind the prevailing attitudes thereby helping to understand the standpoint that the elders in many societies take on gender roles. Also, the source demonstrates the changes present in gender roles and the forces behind them.

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American Academy of Pediatrics. (2015). Gender identity development in children. Retrieved from

The source provides an understanding of gender identity development that shed light on how children understand their gender. In addition, the main finding of the source consists in the fact that the understanding of gender identity clearly influences the perception of children regarding their roles. At the same time, the source describes the right environment that a child should be raised.

Relevance to the Research

In order to understand gender roles and how the norms are created in society, one needs to determine how children learn about their gender. This information is helpful in understanding how children identify with their gender and learn about the expected roles they are to meet as they belong to their gender.

Berryman, K., Hollitt, S., & Power, R. (2002). Gender role development. Retrieved from

The source provides insights on gender role development and factors that influence this development within a society. In addition, the source provides details on how children are influenced with respect to their roles at different stages of their lives. The assertion is that stereotypes about gender roles still exist despite many studies being channeled in regard to the subject matter.

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Relevance to the Research

Due to the fact that the source provides the existing stereotypes of gender roles, tis is helpful in identifying the gaps that a new research ought to fill if proper understanding of gender roles is to be guaranteed. At the same time, with a well-detailed cover of different stages of gender role development, the source provides the different influences that act upon a child, which leads towards the formation of gender roles.

Bradley, H. (2007). Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press.

The source provides a reference point on matters of gender and the different theoretical standpoints that have been formulated over time. There is also a clear analysis on the difference between men and women through the eyes of the society.

Relevance to the Research

The source provides a reference point, under which gaps in the research on gender roles can be identified thereby providing helpful insights on the direction to be taken to fill this gap.

DeBiaggi, S. D. D. (2002). Changing gender roles: Brazilian immigrant families in the U.S. New York, NY: LFB Scholarly Pub.

Centered on both qualitative and quantitative research, the source reveals that the Brazilian immigrants in the US had to change their gender roles and this profoundly affected the relationship between a husband and a wife.

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Relevance to the Research

The source provided insights on the prevailing stereotypes on matters of gender roles and the changes that people are being forced to make under different circumstances. In addition, it was relevant to the research as it formed a reference point on the issue of gender roles in the current society.

Farris, C. S., Lee, A., & Rubinstein, M. A. (2004). Women in the new Taiwan: Gender roles and gender consciousness in a changing society. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe

While taking insights from the Chinese society, the source provides details on how different genders relate and factors that have affected women in the Chinese history. Along with that, the source exemplifies Taiwans women who have taken untraditional roles in contemporary organizations and how the changes are being viewed as unhealthy by their male colleagues.

Relevance to the Research

The source provides insights on how difficult it is to switch gender roles even in contemporary organizations, which is a phenomenon that demands deeper research on the reason for this problem. In addition, the findings on how different gender relate within the same working organization shed light on the areas to concentrate on during the research on changes in gender roles.

Franklin, L. (2012). Gender. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan

The book is centered on an analysis of gender and how behavior is shaped; it is the assertion of the source that gender heavily influences personal identity. A keen effort is channeled towards identifying the effect gender has on behavioral types.

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Relevance to the Research

The research aims at identifying the forces behind gender roles, and this is highly dependent on identity and gender. Therefore, the insights provided by the book helped in identifying the influence that gender has on ones identity, which in turn influences ones choice regarding gender roles.

Lindsey, L. L. (2011). Gender roles: A sociological perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall

The source utilizes the insights provided by recent research conducted in the USA, which helped in analyzing the gender roles that different genders are playing in the modern society. Based on a multi-discipline, the source provides a background where more inclusive and robust theories of gender roles are offered.

Relevance to the Research

The source describes trends related to gender roles, and this is helpful in identifying the changes that have emerged in gender roles. This information is useful in identifying the factors influencing the roles being played by different genders thereby proving a platform, under which more inquiries can be made to identify the reason behind any changes to the norm.

Medland, D. (2016). Today’s gender reality in statistics, or making leadership attractive to women. Retrieved from or-making-leadership-attractive-to-women/#a841c0a62558

The source puts into perspective the issue of gender roles in statistics and demonstrates how still women cannot be entrusted with the leadership position. The main finding of the source consists in the fact that despite the high profile campaign for more equality between genders, leadership opportunities for women remain a non-reachable phenomenon.

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Relevance to the Research

The source provides research-based terms on how traditional gender roles still influence role allocation in the current era. In addition, through the statistics, it becomes easier to identify the trend of how gender roles are changing in different societies.

York, M. R. (2011). Gender attitudes and violence against women. El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub.

The source aimed at providing a hypothesis between gender roles stereotypes and the violence against women. The finding states that in societies with a significant level of stereotypical traditional gender attitude, more violence against women was present.

Relevance to the Research

The finding on the relationship between violence against women, gender roles, and stereotypes provides a reference point that makes the research more relevant. In addition, it provides insights on why some societies still have difficulties allowing women to play some roles despite being qualified for them.

Methodology and Data Analysis

The case at hand presents the need to exploit both quantitative and qualitative research methods that will involve random sampling for a survey. The tool to be utilized is interviews aimed at identifying the different elements captured in the research questions.

Quantitative Method

This method will be helpful in the collection of data expressed in the numerical form of to capture the relevant expression that will be expressed in the form of numbers. This methodology is going to be exploited to quantify the dominant belief about gender roles that the majority of people prescribe to. Along with that, cases of stereotypes about gender roles are to be expressed numerically and will be captured via this method. Lastly, the major role in influencing ones decision when it comes to choosing a career path will also be analyzed under this method.

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Qualitative Method

This method will examine the elements that cannot be expressed in a number form. A good example is answering the research question on the changes in perception of gender roles. This method will also establish the impact of different perceptions on gender roles in regard to the well-being of people within the society. The intention is to understand how people view the effects of gender roles: either as a barrier or as an opportunity towards realizing their goals within the society. The method will also be utilized to receive feedback on what forms the basis of understanding of gender roles to the majority within a society, with the intention to understand how the majority of people came to know what they can or cannot do due to their gender types.


The intention of the research as outlined earlier is to provide a clearer assertion on whether nurture or nature is the force behind the gender roles. Therefore, to meet this goal, data analysis process needs to produce results that are easy to understand. The quantitative data will be analyzed to project the dominant belief on gender roles as a percentage of the whole society.

n = sample size, r = the dominant belief. Therefore, the % of dominate belief will be = (r/n)* 100. This format will be utilized to analyze the element of stereotypes and the reason behind ones choice of career. To present this information in a simplified manner, the result will be converted to graphs where gender roles will be correlated with dominant belief, existing stereotypes and the reason for the career choice. To collect the qualitative data, the analysis will be aimed at identifying the why and the how that will help make sense of descriptive data availed through the interview sessions. The goal is to present the data availed by the random sampling in a manner that is clear and detailed.

Position of the Researcher

It is believed that basing the research case as a social problem that needs more elaboration as signified by the form of research questions will shed more light on variables of gender roles. In addition, with the research question being subject specific, the answers availed will provide a clearer picture of perspectives and impact of gender roles beliefs in the society. In essence, it is the assertion at hand that gender roles is a changing phenomenon that needs to be studied as stipulated in this research proposal.


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Ethical Consideration

The success of the research depends on the credibility of the data availed through random sampling survey that is to be collected by means of interviews. Therefore, the interviewers need to sensitize their respondents on their rights during the interview sessions. In addition, the interviewers need to ensure that results captured in the field are the results delivered. This will ensure that the analysis result presents a pictorial summary of views in the society under the study.

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