Gender Determinism

Published: DECEMBER 30, 2019

Gender determinism is the concept that a person’s gender strongly influences their characteristics including their personality, abilities, values, behaviors, beliefs, and preferences. People who believe in gender determinism believe gender plays a larger part in determining who we are than science has proven as it influences much more than well-documented differences between genders such as their height and strength.

Gender determinism is sometimes shortened to the acronym GD.

More About Gender Determinism

Gender determinism attempts to explain a variety of elements of our society. According to this theory, people have social roles determined by their genders which they should and typically will fulfill. For example, people who have a high belief in gender determinism may believe that men pursue professional opportunities and high wages because they should have the social role of breadwinners. They may also believe that inherently female nurturing characteristics encourage women to have children and pursue professional roles in caring fields such as nursing and teaching. These gender deterministic beliefs cause social phenomena like the gender pay gap where women are paid less than men.

People with a high belief in gender determinism are more resistant to change within society. They may reject modern trends like women choosing careers over motherhood and entering male-dominated fields such as the military or church. They may even feel male-dominated fields will be worse off with women in them. People with a low belief in gender determinism are less resistant to change and open to individuals stepping outside gender norms.

People can be plotted on a spectrum of belief in gender determinism, with low GD people at one end and high GD people at the other and many more moderate perspectives in the middle.


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