A new study has discovered that despite cultural and geographic differences, adolescents around the world share similar stereotypical beliefs about gender, reports Diana Tourjée, namely that femininity is inferior to masculinity.
“Boys Should Have The Courage to Ask a Girl Out”: Gender Norms in Early Adolescent Relationships, a qualitative, interview-based study, takes a look at children, between the ages of 11 to 13, from five poor communities in cities around the world: Baltimore, Cuenca, Edinburgh, Ghent, and Nairobi, “Researchers found that both boys and girls in five countries held beliefs about gendered relationships that ‘are based on the conception that femininity is inferior to masculinity,’ ” says Tourjée.
in a recent interview with USA Today, head researcher Kristin Mmari urged people to think of gender as more than a personal reality and that internalizing stereotypical gender norms can lead to serious negative consequences later on.
In fact, the study showed that boys and girls from all five cities believed that boys should initiate relationships and be “romantically/sexually active and dominant” while girls should remain “innocent with less agency,” findings that demonstrate how gender is socially constructed from a very young age, Tourjée notes.
The current study is part of The Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS), which comprises six studies conducted in 15 countries around the world.