Psychology of Gender

Gender is assumed to be socially formed once a sex is assigned, leading to designations such as femininity or masculinity and associated behaviors. Some people may identify as neither men nor women, while others may place themselves on a spectrum between the two extremes. Gender is the product of the intricate interplay between the body, identity, and society. In the framework of social norms, "bodies themselves are sexist." Humans are classified as much more or less of a man/woman depending on the prevalence of stereotypically masculine or feminine physical characteristics. The way we are socialized and treated as a result of our body being assigned gender is influenced by this binary.

Psychology of Gender and its Significance

Gender relations studies how cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity shape people's actions, health, relationships, and mental processes. Gender psychology has expanded from its initial meaning, which focused only on the study of biological sex variations between men & women, to include the study of how gender is constructed in society. Gender roles and identities, sexuality and orientation, the history of gender stereotypes, and other inquiries into the differences between males and females.

In addition to incorporating a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives from both the theoretical and applied fields of psychology (such as socioeconomic, developmental, and cognitive psychology) and the more applied fields (such as clinical, counseling, and educational psychology), modern gender psychology also employs a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Variations in Mental Health

Factors including age, culture, and profession influence such differences. In terms of having positive connections, women routinely outperform men. Women across cultures generally scored lower than men on autonomy and self-acceptance, although these gender gaps did not appear until early adulthood.

Human Sexuality and Gender

Gender is unique from sex, but sexual orientation—the persons we feel a strong physical, emotional, or romantic affinity to—is also distinct. Thus, gender is internal, and sexual orientation is external. A lesbian wearing short skirts & T-shirts or a gay prince is a ridiculous generalization. Gender or sexual orientation confusion causes these mistakes. To determine a person's sexual orientation, we must examine gender expression.

  • Agender means not identifying with any sex.

  • Born-sex people (cisgender)

  • Feminine-to-Male (Female to Male) is when a person is born female but identifies as male.

  • Gender Dysphoria is unhappiness or anxiety about any element of gender. Moderate Discomfort is more probable than severe.

  • Gender-fluid people change their gender identity or expression.

  • "Gender Role" refers to men's and women's societal expectations.

  • Genderqueer People do not fit the gender binary in their experiences, expectations, or expression.

  • Male to Female is when someone is born male but identifies as female.

  • This individual is non-binary because they do not identify as male or female.

  • Transgender people do not match their biological gender.

Gender Conformity

Gender congruence is psychological well-being when one feels more comfortable identifying and displaying gender. It involves adopting a gender name that matches one's identity, dressing and behaving accordingly, and having others view one as one does. Consistency grows when we learn about both ourselves and the world. We all need to feel at ease in our flesh, and although the journey to that objective may differ in intricacy, it is crucial that we all feel our gender is correctly portrayed.

Gender Prejudice

Gender bias, stereotypes, and discrimination reportedly hamper global gender equality. The equal opportunities, well-being, and development of girls and women are threatened by prejudice and stereotyping at the level of attitudes and discrimination at the physical and material levels. The emotional component of gender bias takes the shape of feelings such as dislike, discomfort, wrath, and even hate against women. The cognitive component in our judgments of social groupings is gender stereotypes, which are the assumptions we make about men and women. Gender discrimination is unjustified unfavorable behavior or behaviors toward women based only on their group membership, that is, merely because they are women, which results from gender stereotyping and prejudice.

The cognitive component in our judgments of social groupings is gender stereotypes, which are the assumptions we make about men and women. Gender discrimination is unjustified unfavorable behavior or behaviors toward women based only on their group membership, that is, merely because they are women, which results from gender stereotyping and prejudice. Thus, gender stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination—i.e., beliefs, attitudes, and deeds—form the three main components of social conduct unfavorable to women. As we covered in the last part, not all women may face bias, stereotyping, and discrimination similarly. Instead, gender interacts with other social categories like class, caste, race, ethnicity, and others to create unique oppressive experiences for women in various categories.

Connecting with Gender Psychologists

Sharing research results is an important part of the scientific process. There is value in conducting experiments to test hypotheses, creating robust methods, conducting thorough data analyses, and arriving at convincing findings. However, there is also value in communicating these results to others. This may be done through publishing in scholarly publications and participating in relevant professional organizations.

Psychology of Gender – Status in India

Similar to western nations, the trajectory in India followed a paradigm where the work in the field of gender psychology mirrored the period's social, political, and cultural conditions. The pattern started to change in the 1970s against the backdrop of women's movements that started with the issue of women's marginalized status in the country's post-independence growth. Several reforms at the legal and policy level are the consequence of the engagement with violence against women, gender equity in education, livelihood, health care, and political representation. Women's studies emerged as a field of study in the 1990s and were referred to as the "academic arm" of women's movements.

Similar problems with women being invisible as study subjects and researchers, as well as with organizations' cooperation in maintaining gender inequality, were noted by Indian academicians. This served as motivation to reassess the current institutions and consider the causes of women's subjugation and potential solutions, focusing on a transformational and emancipatory agenda.

Although there is an increasing understanding of the relationship between psychology and gender and vice versa, psychological research in the social sciences does not substantively address women's concerns, unlike other disciplines (like sociology). A survey of psychological research was requested by the Indian Council of Social Science Research, emphasizing gender. However, women's studies did not contribute the same critical viewpoint to mainstream psychology studies on gender. When governments focused on building their countries in the years after independence, bigger patriotic concerns like communalism and casteism took precedence over scholarly interest in women's issues.

Studies on work-family links, women's mental health, and violence against women were conducted in the 1980s. The focus broadened in the 1990s and the early 2000s to encompass overlapping topics, including gender prejudice, developmental psychology, and life events like aging, marriage, and menopause, as well as reproductive and mental health (pregnancy, menopause). The importance of gender conceptions in psychology is currently becoming more widely acknowledged, particularly in academia.


When resources are directed toward supporting gender stereotypes, chances for individuals to reach their full potential are diminished. A balanced self-concept that includes masculine-instrumental and feminine-expressive features benefit both men and women. This balance is associated with higher psychological well-being among people who adhere to traditional gender roles and jobs. The results of this study have real-world implications and may help to shape policies and programs that promote public health and gender equality.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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