Hofstede 1 describes the value dimension of gender as representing two paradigms of thinking and practice about the world in relation to traditional values associated with gender roles. Gender refers to the culture’s tendencies or orientation toward enforcing or reinforcing masculine and feminine roles in work. Masculine cultures tend to emphasize ambition, control, competition, assertiveness, and achievement, whereas feminine cultures emphasize nurture, care, sharing, quality of life, and relationships. Sometimes these values are expressed as the “quantity of life” and the “quality of life.”
In his findings, Hofstede indicated that cultures that rate high in masculinity, such as Japan, Austria, Venezuela, and Italy, revealed a high proportion of males in dominant structures; in low masculine cultures, such as Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden, women were treated more equally in their social systems.
It is important that you recognize that these values are not associated with being male or female. In other words, this does not mean that men cannot be part of feminine cultures or that women do not orient themselves toward “masculine” cultural values. Finally, like other value dimensions, gender dimensions can vary greatly within any culture.
You can think about the value dimension of gender in the ways displayed in Figure 3.7.