CONTINUED FROM: www.medicalnewstoday.com
Gender tends to denote the social and cultural role of each sex within a given society.4
Rather than being purely assigned by genetics as sex differences generally are, gender roles are adhered to as an (often subliminal) response to family interactions, the media, peers and education.5
The World Health Organization (WHO) describe "gender" like so:6
"Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men - such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed."
Gender roles in particularly patriarchal societies are much more rigid than those in more liberal countries. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, a woman's gender role is as the homemaker, they are subservient to men and not provided certain freedoms such as driving.
Gender roles vary greatly between societies.
In liberal countries, gender roles are still apparent in many regards - women often spend more time childrearing and men are more likely to be the primary money-earners.
However, traditional gender roles are not set in stone and are increasingly reversed in modern societies.
Gender roles and gender stereotypes are highly fluid and can shift substantially over time.
For instance, high-heeled shoes, now almost unanimously considered feminine in Western societies, were initially designed for upper-class men to use when hunting on horseback.
As women caught on and began wearing high heels, male heels slowly became shorter and fatter as female heels grew taller and thinner. Over time, the perception of the high heel changed to its current sociological state: feminine.8
There is nothing intrinsically feminine about the high heel; social norms have made it so.