Discuss Kohlberg’s Theory Of Gender Development

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Discuss Kohlberg’s theory of gender development. Kohlberg’s Gender Consistency Theory basically argues that the development of a consistent gender identity can be seen as part of the child’s more cognitive development. Young children find concepts such as conservation hard but older children do not. Similarly as children get older they understand that there can be different perspectives on a situation to their own. The child responds to the influence of other people but is actively engaged in developing its own concept of its and others genders. Kohlberg argues that there are 3 stages through which children naturally progress as they get older and their cognitive abilities develop. Stages in the construction of gender are thought to be associated with wider stages in cognitive development. Between the ages of 2 and 3 occurs stage one, which Kohlberg named ‘gender labelling’ this is where a child recognises that he or she is a girl or boy. This is purely based on appearances; if the appearance was to change then the child would happily change the label too. There is evidence for the age of gender labelling, this came from Thompson who found that 2 year olds were 76% correct in identifying their sex where as 3 year olds were 90% correct. Stage 2 also known as ‘gender stability’ is thought to happen between the ages of 3 and 7. This is when they develop the understanding that gender is consistent and is fixed. However the theory states that they do not understand that gender will remain constant through different situations. If a boy was to engage in female activities they believe they can change into females. Gender stability was investigated by Slaby and Fret who asked young children ‘were you a little girl or boy when you were a baby?’ and ‘when you grow up will you be a mummy or daddy?’ Children did not recognise that these traits were stable over time until
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