Social Influences Have Had a Major Impact on Gender Differences

Topics: Sociology, Gender role, Social psychology Pages: 3 (1156 words) Published: November 14, 2010
Allie Spera
Article 4 & 5

Social influences have had a major impact on gender differences. In a psychological analysis about gender and social influences, social scientists argue that men are thought to be more influential and women are thought to be easily influenced (Eagly, 1983). In reading this article, I learned that there are gender differences based on social influence, but not because of nature or biological differences. It is because of the roles that people play in society. In other words, there is a hierarchy of authority where social expectations often put women in positions of lower level authority. Therefore men tend to be relegated to positions of greater authority. Again, these are social expectations, not biological functions. Women as well as men conform to the role that society places on them, and often that role gives men more power and authority and people comply with that. According to the article, this best describes the term formal status inequality. Such inequality is a product of a hierarchy of roles that is legitimized by social norms and embedded in the formal structure of groups and organizations (Eagly, 1983). There have been a plethora of studies done to test these theories. Not only that, but we have all seen and experienced these gender roles first hand. For example, as a child growing up my mother used to say “wait until your father comes home” if I was doing something I shouldn’t be. This reminds me of that natural role of high authority my father played so quickly in my life. Another thing I learned is that because of the greater concentration of men in high status positions than women, men clearly have greater power and are less likely to be influenced. Again, this is not because of their gender, but because of the roles that society subscribes to them, and how many of them there are. For example, take a sheer number of 100 men and 100 women. If we distributed them and placed them in certain social roles, most...
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