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Build new social norms not constrained by rigid gender stereotypes

2 minutes

Common ideas of how men and women ‘should’ act influence the types of roles they are expected to fulfil. 

Gender norms can be particularly harmful for women, as traditional female roles are commonly less valued. When male power is the norm, violence, including harassment and verbal abuse, can be used to ‘punish’ women who step outside of their expected roles.

What are the solutions?

  • Raise awareness of the negative impacts of gender stereotyping and increase community support for adults and children to act in ways or take on roles that defy gender stereotypes.
  • Encourage and support children, young people and adults to develop personal identities not constrained by gender stereotypes.
  • Build the capacity of children, young people and adults to reject rigid gender roles, and challenge aggressive, entitled, controlling constructions of masculinity and subordinate or sexualised constructions of femininity and girlhood.
  • Increase social support for masculine norms, practices and behaviours that are healthy, safe, respectful and ethical at an individual level, and within organisations and institutions.
  • Promote and support gender-equitable domestic and parenting practices, including through policy and legislation, early parenting programs and workplace initiatives.
  • Develop positive ways to engage men and boys in the change process, encouraging them to challenge restrictive and rigid gender roles and identities for both men and women.
Stylised illustration of a man pushing a pram.

Resources and books

Campaigns that challenge gender stereotypes and roles