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Gender roles are the behaviors, interests, attitudes, and skills that a society or culture considers “appropriate” for females and males. Gender roles are important to understand because they are based on social norms or shared rules about what women and men should do, how girls and boys should act, or what are considered “normal” forms of femininity and masculinity. For example, women are often assumed to be well suited for early childhood teaching because they will bring with them caring attitudes, an understanding of emotions, and other feminized qualities. Or out in the playground it is often thought that boys will take part in rough-and-tumble play and girls will want to play quieter and less active games. This entry examines how gender roles are ...

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