Gender difference has always been a favourite topic in the field of social sciences. For decades now, it has been one of the most intriguing, most fascinating, and most enthralling. It has been related to other aspects of human intervention such as gender role preferences, gender-based beliefs, gender stereotypes, and gender identity. Moreover, it has also already been related to other issues of social science such as cultural biases, management preference, racial discrimination, and others of the like. If we delve deeper, however, it would seem that everybody has a view on what really is gender difference, what are these differences, and what causes such.
What is gender difference?
Gender difference, obviously, lets us see the dissimilarity between men and women in every aspect of life – from the choices they make, to the jobs they take, and all other sorts that evidently shows how their preferences differ. We should bear in mind, though, that with all these differences, some may be real while some are just presumptions. We can actually say that some are just mythical beliefs that our parents taught us when we were young and trying to figure out what ‘girls’ have that ‘boys’ do not or what ‘boys’ can do that ‘girls’ cannot. Bottom line is, the knowledge that we have with regards to gender difference is something that we have acquired from those who raised us and those who have been with us while we were growing as an individual. It’s like the nature and nurture in psychology, and we believe these things because it is what is being shown to us.
What are these differences?
Such differences between men and women may include biological, social, cognitive, and especially physical characteristics. Recent researches have shown that during the earlier years of childhood, particularly soon after birth, girls or women are more advanced and progressive in terms of physical and cognitive changes. Studies also show that girls are more advanced when it comes to verbal skills whereas men are more reformed when it comes to visual and mathematical skills. As per biological differences, males tend to develop faster when it comes to physical maturity because of hormonal (testosterone) functions and greater brain lateralization. The downside of such lateralization, however, is that males tend to have lesser ability withstanding brain injuries than females. In relation to this brain functions, cognitive abilities come in. As what Kohlberg explained in his cognitive developmental theory of gender-typing, children begin classifying with themselves – whether they are a male or a female, and then later on when they feel that they are being praised and rewarded by the way they behave in accordance with their gender, they develop gender identity and consistency; and so, gender differences continue to be existent.
What causes gender difference?
Parents and family have great influences on a child’s gender-typing. As soon as a child is born, he or she is being treated in ways which is in accordance to his or her sexuality. Moreover, girls and boys are viewed differently not just by their parents, but also the people around them – their society, the community where they belong. People see boys as strong and masculine whereas girls as smooth and fragile. Hence, the concept of what is proper for boys and girls is borne in the mind of a child.
Other causes include the environment a child has while he or she is growing up. Schools and other institutions also intensify such difference between girls and boys. Once they step up, companies and organizations where these children choose to be part of adds material to what a man and a woman should be. Thus, gender difference continues.
In summary, gender difference is not a negative concept. Whether we agree or not, it is an idea that has been embraced since time immemorial. Thus, all we have to do is accept these differences and respect other people’s opinion about it. There is nothing wrong if a man chooses to be more feminine or if a woman chooses to be more masculine. What is more important is that we recognize such differences between men and women and that we pay respect to whatever will be the gender choice of a person.