Masculinity versus its opposite, Femininity, again as a societal, not as an individual characteristic, refers to the distribution of values between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society, to which a range of solutions can be found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women's values differ less among societies than men's values; (b) men's values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women's values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women's values on the other. The assertive pole has been called 'masculine' and the modest, caring pole 'feminine'. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men's values and women's values. In masculine cultures there is often a taboo around this dimension (Hofstede et al., 1998). Taboos are based on deeply rooted values; this taboo shows that the Masculinity/Femininity dimension in some societies touches basic and often unconscious values, too painful to be explicitly discussed. In fact the taboo validates the importance of the dimension. Table 4 lists a selection of differences between societies that validation research showed to be associated with this dimension.
In Hofstede et al. (2010) Masculinity versus Femininity Index scores are presented for 76 countries; Masculinity is high in Japan, in German speaking countries, and in some Latin countries like Italy and Mexico; it is moderately high in English speaking Western countries; it is low in Nordic countries and in the Netherlands and moderately low in some Latin and Asian countries like France, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Korea and Thailand.
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