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Gender Ideals in China and the United States: A State of the Union Open Access

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Gender roles and ideals are not static—they are constantly changing and evolving. Additionally, gender roles, norms, and ideals differ between countries. This project examines the differences in gender norms between two of the largest countries—both in population and in involvement in world politics—in the world, China and the United States. At the outset, it was thought that China would be far more traditional when looking at gender roles in comparison to the United States. Previous research has shown how centuries of traditional, male-centric beliefs in both China and the United States have shaped how women are viewed and what is expected of an individual based on their perceived gender. Utilizing the 2012 Family and Changing Gender Roles survey done by the International Social Survey Programme, as well as a micro-level survey, this project works to determine if there are differences in traditional gender roles and attitudes between China and the United States. Ultimately, this project found that there were differences between the two countries, but that the differences were not as dramatic as was originally assumed. The findings from this project can be used to inform future policy between the two countries, as well as to highlight the influence that technology has on the social norms of countries.

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