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BPCG-176: Psychology of Gender

BPCG-176: Psychology of Gender

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for BPCG-176 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Psychology of Gender, you have come to the right place. BPCG-176 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in BAG, BAECH, BAHIH, BAPSH, BASOH, BSCANH, BAEGH, BAGS courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: BPCG-176/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BPCG-176

Assignment Name: Psychology of Gender

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Total Marks: 100


NOTE: All questions are compulsory.

Assignment One

2 x 20 = 40


Answer the following questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks.


1. Trace the history of psychology of gender.

Ans) Prior to learning about the perspectives, it is important to understand how the field of psychology of gender came to have a bearing on the discipline itself. History of psychology of gender as a field within the discipline of Psychology, can be subdivided into three distinct phases. In the first phase, critics of the discipline of psychology began to question the ‘androcentricbias’ or male-centred nature of the discipline of psychology that sparked the intellectual curiosity of psychologists, especially women, in the later phases.


The third phase continued to be crucial as the transformation of the discipline to include research related to women and gender, started taking roots. Women came out of the shadows and claimed their rightful positions in the academic spaces. Psychology of gender was gradually accepted as a legitimate field of study that included challenging earlier assumptions about human behaviour, developing theories, and methodological designs. As a result, fresh insights began to develop about existing paradigms with the application of the newly found knowledge.


By 2012, Etaugh and Worrell, listed several principles that highlighted the role of gender in theorization, research, publications, and every aspect of the scientific process in a systematic fashion. They also emphasized on recognizing gender as an analytical category and the ways in which it structures social interactions. The number of publications on the topic of psychology of gender has grown, and journals are attentive to the quality of the publications. Alice Eagly and her colleagues published an exhaustive piece of work, analysing 50 years of research in psychology of women and gender from the years 1960-2009, a classic for the scholars interested in the topic. They noted a sharp increase in research in the related areas of gender, women and psychology.


Psychology of Gender – Status in India

Similar to the western countries, in Indian context the trajectory followed the model wherein the social, political and cultural realities of the times was reflected in the nature of work in the field of psychology of gender. The shift in the trend began in the 1970s against the backdrop of women’s movements that started with the question of marginalized status of women in the larger discourse of post-independence development in the country. The engagement with issues of violence against women, gender inequities in education, livelihood, health care and political representation resulted in several changes at legal and policy level.


The path from history to present

The historical account presented earlier, creates a base for contextualizing the psychological theories that helps us understand and explain the differences between genders. Even though psychology as a discipline has emphasized more on individual behaviour and was slow on adopting gender as an analytical category, the last few decades both globally and locally has seen an increase in research in this area. Tracing the milestones in the development of the field of psychology of gender emphasizes on the need to produce knowledge with the objective of recognizing the sources of gender inequities and inequalities. When combined with intensive research, this knowledge can contribute to building practices and policies to address gender issues in the long term.


2. Describe sex-differences in health seeking behaviour.

Ans) Sex differences have been noted in accessing healthcare. It seems that cultural norms also play a role in health care utilisation. Gender role expectations have a negative influence and do not encourage men to seek help unless they experience significant health issues. Normatively men are expected to be sturdy, tough and self-reliant. Hence men who harbour traditional ideas about masculinity would postpone medical help-seeking even if they experience physical problems. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to go for regular visits to doctors and for health check-ups and consequently receive treatment early. Also, this enables them to detect any problems beforehand.


Sex Differences in Mortality

It is an established fact that men die younger than women throughout the life span. The U.S. Health and Human Services (2009a) point out that although more boys (105) are born than girls (100), more boys (32) die than girls (26) between the ages of 1-4 years. Some claim that in-utero deaths are even higher in males in comparison to females. The sex differences in mortality reach the peak during adolescence and early adulthood. The World Factbook points out that the sex differences in mortality exist in European and Asian countries. World statistics related to deaths have indicated the growing trend in which death from communicable and infectious diseases have been replaced by noncommunicable lifestyle disorders over the years for both the sexes. Data from U.S. point out that the leading causes of death in 1900 were pneumonia followed by Tuberculosis while heart diseases were in the fourth position.


However, the trend changed dramatically in 2010 with heart diseases topping the list followed by cancer and subsequently by cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s diseases. However, with the exception of Alzheimer’s disease, death has been high for men in comparison to women. Thus, although men suffer and die early due to life threatening health conditions, women live longer but suffer from more chronic problems like osteoporosis, arthritis and autoimmune disorders. The different factors like diet, smoking and drinking etc play a vital role in the diseases that have now become the leading causes of death. Other than sex, factors like age and race also influence some of the major causes of death.


Sex Differences in Morbidity

Morbidity refers to being sick or suffering from illness. While the discovery of vaccines, better drugs and better health care facilities have brought down death rate, it has seen a surge in morbidity across the life span. People are suffering from chronic diseases which can have fatal or non-fatal consequences. While diseases like cancer and heart ailments are ultimately fatal, longevity has been prolonged due to improvements in medical health care facilities. Both fatal and non-fatal (Rheumatoid Arthritis) chronic illness has a significant impact on the quality of life. This has brought about morbidity with increased periods of illness, disability, restrictions in daily life, etc.


Subjective health reports often show women to have poor health perceptions than men and they report more illness behaviour. Women would stay more days in bed, have fewer physical activities and more restrictions and absent from work due to sickness. One of the theories explaining greater morbidity among females is related to greater sensitivity of females towards their bodily changes and hence they notice and report symptoms more. Thus, in comparison to men, women display more physical and functional limitations, greater disability and morbidity and this sex difference is noticeable in adulthood and rises with age. However, the difference is not so evident till the adolescent period.


Assignment Two


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 x 10 = 30


3. Explain Bem’s gender-schema theory.

Ans) The Gender Schema theory is a social-cognitive theory of gender development and describes how people process information related to gender. Proposed by Sandra L. Bem (1981), an American psychologist, the theory combines cognitive development and social learning approaches and is about how people in any given society become gendered from an early age. That is, children from an early age develop ideas about what it means to be masculine or feminine and use these ideas to categorize information, make decisions and regulate their behavior based on this information. Thus, individuals develop a lens or schemas through which different phenomena are categorized into sex-typed and non-sex-typed.


Bem says that from the age of two or three years, a child starts accurately labelling self as boy or girl, and begins to assign activities, toys, occupations and so on as ‘male’ and ‘female’. By the time they are four or five years old, girls and boys begin to typically prefer activities defined by the culture in which they live as appropriate for their sex and also come to prefer same-sex peers. By the age of eight or so, the gender schema is well developed for most children, according to this theory. This process of labelling and assigning is an internal cognitive mechanism, but the content of the schema is socially and culturally learned and shaped. Bem’s theory is known for introducing the concept of androgyny. She maintained that masculinity and femininity are not polar opposites, nor were they inherently related to one’s biological sex. Instead, she took a context-dependent view of human behavior and said that masculine and feminine characteristics could co-exist in the same person depending on situational factors.


4. How is gender prejudice a key barrier to gender equality across the world? Discuss.

Ans) Deep-rooted gender prejudice, along with stereotypes and discrimination, are said to be a key barrier to gender equality across the world. Prejudice and stereotypes, at the attitudinal level, and discrimination, at the concrete and material level pose threats to equal opportunities, well-being and development of girls and women. Gender prejudice is the affective element and that takes the form of emotions ranging from dislike and discomfort to anger and even hatred against women. Gender stereotypes are the positive or negative beliefs that we hold about men and women and is thus the cognitive element in our perceptions about social groups. Gender stereotyping and prejudice then lead to gender discrimination which is unjustifiable negative behavior or actions towards women simply based on their group membership, that is simply because they are women.


The distinct feature of gender prejudice is that unlike other social groups, men and women are intimately connected with each other, and hence gender prejudice is neither the same nor can be bracketed in the same category as caste or ethnic prejudice. Indeed, according to developmental psychology, gender is the earliest and one of the strongest group identities to be formed and to be internalized. Individuals are more likely to immediately categorize others on the basis of gender, rather than on the basis of any other social group such as caste, class, age and so on. Furthermore, when gender prejudice intersects with caste, ethnic or sexual orientation prejudice about other social groups, this makes the experience of discrimination or oppression different for women of different caste or ethnic groups.


5. Describe the gender differences in non-verbal behaviour.

Ans) Psychology has always been interested in nonverbal bodily cues to decode someone’s personality, thoughts, and even predict behaviour. The fascination with the nonverbal aspect of language continues in to examining gender differences in language. Nonverbal components of language include the usage of facial expressions, tone of the voice, gestures, posture, etc. Indeed, we rely on nonverbal cues more than we realize, to comprehend conversations, and formulate our responses accordingly. Men and women use nonverbal gestures according to the sex of the person whom they are interacting with. Nonverbal gestures like smiling, gazing, distance between the individuals, and touch, vary greatly when we compare same-sex interactions with mixed-sex interactions. Women are more like to smile with each other, it is the least between two men. Females stand closer to one another than men do, when interacting.



Women are always reminded to smile so that they look pretty. In fact, women are criticised when they do not smile as much as they are expected to. Smiling is almost synonymous as a feminine attribute. A meta-analytic study shows that women smile more than men (LaFrance & Vial, 2016). In childhood, there are no sex differences in smiling, but in adolescence the differences are observed, that tapers off in middle age.


Decoding/ Interpersonal sensitivity

The ability to understand and interpret the nonverbal behaviour of others is referred to as decoding. Essentially, one is trying to break the code of nonverbal behaviour exhibited by others through this process. Decoding also involves assessing the emotional component accompanying the nonverbal behaviour. In others, it refers to degree to which one is sensitive to nonverbal cues in interpersonal interactions.

Assignment Three


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 x 6 = 30


6. Role of family in gender socialization

Ans) Gender norms are those rules of behavior considered to be appropriate for men and women. Every society has certain expectations about typical and appropriate behavior for girls, boys, men and women and these expectations along with the responsibilities they are supposed to take up and perform in society together make up gender roles. The main distinction regarding the gender roles of men and women is related to division of labour – who is to do what kind of work. This division of labour is related to the roles ascribed to the public sphere and those to the private sphere respectively. The public sphere refers to the external world of politics and public office, economy, war and the military while the private domain includes the home and domesticity, reproduction and children.


7. Romantic relationship in digital age

Ans) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) (understood as social networking, usage of mobile devices etc.) is a part of our everyday life. It has become a context through which we can express themselves, grapple with our challenges, and even distract ourselves for the time being. It is more so in the case of adolescents and young adults. They take refuge of social media for various purposes and one of the most important one is dealing with their challenges revolving around assuming responsibility in different phases and spheres of social and personal life. Some studies analysed online and offline behaviour by making sense of private and public messages on social media, text messages, phone calls, chats, video chats among young adults and their romantic partners.


8. Womb envy and mothering

Ans) The psychoanalytic approach to gender is incomplete without mentioning the works of Karen Horney (pronounced Horn-eye) and Nancy Chodorow. Karen Horney was one of the sturdy supporters of Freud’s concepts of penis envy and castration anxiety. However, over the years she criticised his theory by citing his theory to be phallocentric. Helene Deutsch, a psychoanalyst herself, researched on psychology of women extensively. Trained and inspired by Freud, her work on women’s psyche was considered to be an extension of her mentor’s postulations on female development that stopped at the Phallic stage with the Electra complex. Helene goes beyond the phallic stage and focusses on the critical aspects of the prepuberty period when the transition from girlhood to womanhood happens.


9. Legal recognition of gender and sexual identity

Ans) Under the global human rights discourse, the persecution of LGBT individuals is now recognised as a large-scale phenomenon. The preservation of their rights and basic needs is sought in equal measure by holding bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), and instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Geneva Conventions, the Declaration of Montreal, and Yogyakarta Principles accountable. LGBT human rights are also advocated as a propelling force to reduce the treatment gap and improve accessibility to quality mental health services for queer individuals. Though global medical practices continue to be dominated by Western scientific models, there is now a growing understanding of what diverse gender identities comprise, along with greater efforts being made to modify diagnostic approaches so as to prevent discrimination and violation of LGBT rights in healthcare.


10. Feminism and Ecofeminism

Ans) Feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. Throughout most of Western history, women were confined to the domestic sphere, while public life was reserved for men. Ecofeminism is a philosophy and movement as a result of the union of feminism and ecological thinking. It believes that the trend of the domination and oppression of women is directly connected to the trend of abuse of the natural environment. In gender discourse, a discussion regarding ecofeminism today is of utmost relevance.

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