Because gender is such a significant dimension of social difference in contemporary Western societies, we tend to take it for granted. It is hard to imagine that gender could be less socially important or organised very differently from the familiar patterns that we see every day. So it can be surprising to learn that, while gender is socially recognised in all known societies, there is wide historical and cultural variation in the way it is expressed and experienced. In every society, at least some work is allocated on the basis of gender; this allocation is called the sexual division of labour. In some societies, females and males undertake sharply differentiated activities, and may be physically segregated for substantial periods, either because of social norms or as a consequence of the sexual division of labour. In other societies, children of both sexes are treated in much the same ways, but gender difference becomes important in adolescence or early adulthood. In many cultures, only a few activities are specific to one sex, and the sexual division of labour is minimal. Men dominate overtly in certain cultures; elsewhere, the lives and powers of the two sexes are largely balanced and complementary. In developed economies, the norms and symbols that govern gender tend to vary according to class, subculture, and ethnicity. And everywhere,gender patterns are dynamic: they change over time.
|Title of host publication||Second opinion|
|Subtitle of host publication||An introduction to health sociology|
|Place of Publication||South Melbourne, Victoria|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Number of pages||28|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|