1 Read the following passage.

Biology – detemiines what sex we are at birth – that is, whether we are male or female. However, society and culture determine our gender roles – that is, the socially learned patterns of behavior that distinguish boys from girls and men from women. Gender roles are learned through the process of socialization. In other words, we leant what society considers masculine and feminine as we grow up and interact with other people.

Becoming a man or woman is dramatically more complex now than it was a century ago. Boys and girls today have more freedom to explore their individuality and less

pressure to conform to traditional gender roles. For example, today both young men and young women can have jobs that were previously limited to only one sex. Children who are born today are given choices about the way males and females should behave and think. Many of todays gender roles were unthinkable in our parents’ or grandparents’ generations.

2 I Answer the following questions according to the information in the passage.

1 How do we learn about masculinity and femininity?

2 How have gender roles changed?


Read these questions and share your answers with a partner.

1 When you were a child, what did vour family, teachers, or friends tell you about mens and women’s behavior?

2 Do you think that gender roles will continue to change in the future? How?


1 Read the following list of personality traits. First, match the trail with the correct description. Then decide whether you believe these qualities are mostly biological (things you are born with) or mostly social (things you learn). For each trait, check (✓) the appropriate box. Then compare your answers with a partner.

Personality Mostly Mostly

Description Trait Biological Social

Gets along well with other people


Is good at sports—————-


Can make decisions alone


Is not afraid of doing things


Wants to be the best at things


Does what he or she wants to do


Prefers to be led by others


Is afraid to talk to others; is shy


Works well with other people


Behaves badly


Now work as a group. Look at the list of trails below and write a short description for each one. Do you think that these traits are mostly biological or mostly social?

adventurous aggressive cowardly gentle helpful

kind nice responsible sweet thoughtful

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