09.07.2020 – Female and male societies

Dimensions (features) of a culture are measurable aspects of phenomena, which determine important elements of national culture and allow to determine its position in relation to other cultures. Masculinity and femininity dimension illustrates the relationship between men and women due to their social and gender roles and the importance attributed to them. This dimension examines whether there is a clear division of roles by gender in a given society (male society or whether it is relatively negligible (female society).

Distinguishing the dimension, defined as masculinity and femininity, resulted from attributing the greatest significance to “masculine” or “feminine” factors. Male factors are earnings, acknowledgement, promotion or challenge. On the other hand, feminine factors are relations with the superior, cooperation, place of residence or guarantee of employment and the related sense of security.

In male cultures, social roles are strictly defined for each gender (in a stereotypical way). Men are expected to be assertive and successful, while women are expected to be modest and tender and take care of relationships. In “male” cultures, competition, achievement, confrontation and the use of force are important.

In male societies, responsibility, decisiveness and ambition are exclusively male. Carefulness and gentleness are features attributed to women. The ambition of women is linked to the achievement of success by men. The emancipation of women does not mean the equal sharing of domestic and professional responsibilities, but only the admission of women to positions previously held only by men. In male society, women are treated objectively and men subjectively, which means that different standards of conduct and treatment are created for each gender.

In male cultures, great importance is attached to achieving success or rivalry.

“Female” cultures, on the other hand, are relationship-oriented cultures. What is important here is cooperation, equality, dialogue or care for the weak. One avoids confrontation, or rather seeks a compromise. Interpersonal skills, flexibility and empathy are important. Avoiding confrontation, rather striving for dialogue. It is important to establish and maintain good contacts and to maintain a friendly atmosphere.

In female societies, qualities such as responsibility, firmness, ambition, care and delicacy can characterise both women and men. Women pursue their own ambitions, so girls do not cheer for boys, and supporting husbands in achieving success is not the main activity of adult women. Both sexes are treated subjectively and both sexes have the same standards, also relating to moral standards.

In female cultures, interpersonal relations and cooperation are important.

These different types of cultures have different value hierarchies. In men it is about conquest, achievement and race, in women it is more important to cooperate. This dimension often generates emotions in the contact between men and women in managerial positions. Sometimes it is difficult for a man to adapt to the expectations of a woman. A woman, in turn, may perceive a man’s (intentionally assertive and “male”) behaviour as aggressive.

Female cultures are mainly Northern European countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Male cultures are the countries of the Middle East.

Male and female societies and school

Distinction between male and female societies influences the organisation of school life. In female societies, competition is not very important: the norm is the average pupil, and weaker pupils can also find recognition – there is no need to strive for the best. Therefore, failures at school are accepted and no one treats them as a life failure, and students modestly evaluate their achievements (they do not boast). A teacher is valued for his or her friendly attitude towards students. The curriculum is structured in such a way that girls and boys learn the same subjects and young children are taught by both genders.

In male societies the basis of experience and school life is competition. The standard to which everyone should aspire is an exemplary student and only outstanding students find recognition among teachers and other students. Failures at school are treated as a failure in life, and students brag about their successes. The teacher is valued for their competence, not for being friendly to pupils. Boys learn other subjects than girls. Small children are taught by women.

Differentiation between male and female societies affects the organisation of school life. In female societies, competition is of little importance, failures at school are accepted, and students modestly evaluate their achievements and do not boast. In male societies the basis of school life is competition. School failures are treated as a life failure and students brag about their successes.

Male and female societies and workplace

There are also differences between the male and female societies in the workplace. In female society, team leaders should be intuitive in their management of their subordinates and seek to reach an agreement, so conflicts are resolved through compromise and negotiation. Remuneration is granted according to the principle of equality. Small companies and enterprises are preferred. Work is done in order to live, so free time is more valuable than extra pay for overtime. Career-making is a free choice for women and men, so there is a high proportion of women on the professional labour market.

In female society, conflicts are resolved through compromise and negotiation, and characteristics such as responsibility, firmness, ambition, care and delicacy can characterise both women and men. Both sexes are treated subjectively and both sexes have the same standards.

In male societies, the work culture is different, above all, it is not compromise oriented. Managers should be firm and aggressive, and conflicts are solved by confronting forces. Salaries are set according to the principle of equity: based on performance, experience and competence. In male societies one lives to work, so additional remuneration is more valuable than free time. Careers are men’s responsibility, but free choice for women, so their participation in the professional labour market is low.

In male societies, work culture is primarily oriented towards the confrontation of strength. Features such as responsibility, decisiveness and ambition are attributed solely to men.

Whether society is male or female also influences the shape of political solutions adopted in the state. In female society, the aim is to support the needy (social societies – general welfare). Female societies are societies that allow diversity, respect for other cultures is important. In male societies the ideal is a society of productivity, in which the best deserve support. It is a corrective society in which individuals must strive to be like the commonly accepted role model.

Masculinity and femininity dimension is, similarly to other dimensions, measured on a scale from 1 to 120. A high score on the scale means male society, a low score means female society. A strongly masculine society includes: Japan (95), Hungary (88), Austria (79), Venezuela (73). The most feminine societies are: Sweden (5), Norway (8), the Netherlands (14), Denmark (16). Poland, with a score of 64, is considered a male country. Germany has a similarly high score (66). The remaining immigrant groups belong to female communities: Vietnamese (40), Russians (36), Ukrainians (27), Belarusians (20).

Male and female societies on the example of selected countries – high score means male society, low score means female society.

Source: Own study based on https://www.hofstede-insights.com

What is the source of the differences between masculinity and femininity?

The sources of differentiation between masculinity and femininity are:

  • history, tradition, geography,
  • religion,
  • worldview,
  • political system.

Cultures change, influence and evolve. In addition – each person draws from their own culture as they see fit, so it must be remembered that “immersion” in their own culture is always individual.