Gender – A New Topical Summary for Explaining Human Culture

Lukas Avendaño

Lukas Avendaño

A new topical summary on Gender is now available in Explaining Human Culture, our open access database that summarizes the results of over 1,000 cross-cultural studies. The gender module is co-authored by HRAF President Carol R. Ember, along with current intern Abbe McCarter and former interns Milagro Escobar and Noah Rossen.

The purpose of the topical summaries is to overview what we think we have learned about a particular topic, such as gender, and to point out some of the things we do not yet know from cross-cultural research. It is our hope that these summaries will not only be useful for classroom use, but will also stimulate further research to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

The Gender summary can be downloaded as a PDF file or ePub (ebook). The summary provides more in depth information to supplement the Gender teaching exercises available on Teaching eHRAF. Here is the abstract from the summary:

Categorizing children at birth into the binary categories of female or male is common cross-culturally. But there is also substantial variation across cultures, both in the number of gender categories and in the tolerance of switching categories. This module first explores variation in gender concepts, then turns to what we know from cross-cultural research about gender differences in division of labor, political and warrior roles, and the relative status of women and men in society.

Cross-cultural research, most of it based on diverse worldwide samples of societies, has concentrated on variation in gender concepts, explanations for the division of labor by gender, economic disparities by gender, relative status of women and men, participation in politics, and warfare. We believe that this summary will add insights to an important and popular topic which HRAF has featured regularly:

Women, gender and power in eHRAF

“I have worth”: female body confidence and perceptions of beauty around the world

An Anthropology of Dads: Exploring fatherhood in eHRAF

The topic of gender is prevalent across the academic curriculum in higher education and especially relevant in the social sciences including anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, and political science. As higher education has witnessed the growth of academic departments covering the subject of gender, college and university libraries have added to their collections for research.

Explaining Human Culture explores cross-cultural questions about human universals and differences on a wide variety of subjects.

Topical summaries are now available in the following areas:

To review the Gender summary and other topical summaries – or to search the database by documents, hypotheses, and variables – please visit Explaining Human Culture.