Change over time

The social construction of gender is pervasive and can be resistant to rapid change. But that doesn’t mean it's static or immutable.

As a social construction, gender changes over time, in ways big and small. The social norms and expectations for men and women were very different 100 years ago than they are today. And they will continue to change as our society evolves into the future.

Some signs even point to an agendered time ahead. A recent survey of attitudes toward gender in 32 countries around the world, conducted by the global communication firm Havas (2017), suggests, “The very way we think about gender is changing. A majority of women (52%) and 44% of men surveyed agreed: ‘I do not believe in set genders; gender is fluid, and everyone can be what they feel they are’” (Havas, 2017, Many signs point to an agendered future, para. 1).

The Havas survey also revealed a clear shift toward raising children in an agendered way:

“61% of women and 46% of men believe children should be raised as gender neutral as possible to avoid rigid gender restrictions. (In comparison, 39% of women and 54% of men would prefer to see girls and boys raised with gender-specific clothing, toys, etc.) That attitude seems to apply to adults as well: In developed markets, barely half the sample (52%) believe ‘a man should be masculine,’ and just 48% believe ‘a woman should be feminine’” (Havas, 2017, Many signs point to an agendered future, para. 1).

Explore the articles below to learn more about how gender is evolving here at home and abroad.

Featured Content

How are attitudes toward gender evolving in the world today? Read more about the findings from the Havas survey.

The Future is FeMale


Did you know that some businesses are changing the way they market their products to keep up with social norms? Explore which companies are experimenting with gender-fluid and gender-neutral brands and advertising.

Five insights about gender and brands

References:

Havas Global Comms. (2017, September 18). The future is FeMale. Havas Group. https://download.havas.com/prosumer-reports/future-is-female/

Wren, C. (2017, September 21). Five insights about gender and brands. Branding Strategy Insider. https://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/2017/09/five-insights-about-gender-and-brands.html

Gender Identity Gender identity icon Our core sense of who we are as a man, a woman, a mixture of both, or neither.

Gender Expression Gender expression icon How we show up in the world through choices like clothing, hair style, mannerisms or tone of voice.

Attraction attraction icon How we feel toward others sexually, romantically and/or emotionally.

Biological Sex Biological sex icon Physical attributes such as reproductive organs and genitalia, chromosomes, genes and hormone levels.