There are two issues related to gender diversity in early childhood: young children’s development of gender identity and gender identity of practicing early childhood professionals.

Gender Identity

Acquiring gender identity is complex. Many different sources are involved in helping us understand what it means to be male or female—a man or a woman. Young children are strongly influenced by significant adults in their lives: mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, extended family members, caregivers, teachers, guardians, and neighbors. They are also shaped by forces in society and affected by media and culture. These are considered environmental influences, and teach us what to expect about our behavior as females or males. Gender identity also includes our anatomy that defines us through our physical make-up or biology. Young children develop some ...

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