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Ruth W

The more I read about gender difference the more I am convinced so much has to do with cultural expectations and social constructs. We expect women to behave / manage in a certain way and so when we see them behaving in that way it reinforces what we think. When we don't we either ignore them, call it an exception or label them 'masculine'. It seems sad that men and women are assigned such restrictive gender labels. I am competitive, does that make me masculine? My husband is emotionally intelligent and connects with people, does that make him feminine? Labels can be so limiting.


I agree with you, Ruth, and it's challenging to consider how we help to construct and reinforce those gender differences. I did a session for youth work students last year where one guy was saying that he would always ask the boys to lift and carry tables in his youth work because it 'just didn't feel right' asking the girls. Of course, overall men are physically stronger than women but when it comes to a task like carrying tables, there's no reason why girls shouldn't do it as well. They're not that weedy! So by setting up that difference, he's helping to construct a particular way of being male and being female.

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