Gender Roles

Ethnic and racial groups often articulate clear expectations of behavior for men and women. These can include who initiates or leads activities, how to show respect and deference and appropriate greetings.

Sometimes these role differences are profound – such as who bears responsibility for different aspects of life or who can marry whom. Others can be so subtle that outsiders may not even recognize that something has just transpired.

Because we are bathed in these cultural expectations from infancy, they reside deep within us. Moving across the globe doesn’t erase them. We can choose to live by a different code of behavior but we carry the impulses for the rest of our lives, feeling just a little bit guilty with each breach.

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