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- The Gender Project -

“One does not have gender; one does gender” (West & Zimmerman, 1987) 


Gender Identity is defined as a “cognitive self-categorization as boy or girl,” (Kohlberg, 1966, p. 88).

In 2011, the American Psychological Association (APA) referred to Gender Identity as “one’s sense of oneself as male, female or something else.”


Moreover, gender identity is closely related to the expression of gender roles that reflect that identity and, therefore, it is influenced by the social agents within which people live, interact and express themselves. Therefore, gender identity also emerges through a social process at which “identity shapes and is shaped by the surrounding environment” (Adams & Marshall, 1996).


Individuals as young as 18 months are able to recognise labels and roles that are socially assigned to either females or males (Zosuls, Ruble, Tamis-Lemonda, Shrout, Bornstein, & Greulich, 2009).


Hill and Lynch (1983) suggest that a “gender intensification” occurs with adolescence. Galambos, Almeida and Petersen’s study (1990) confirmed the “gender intensification” hypothesis with 200 students (85 boys, 115 girls; mean age = 11.6 years).

However, Liben and Signorella (1985) point out that children become less gender-stereotyped as they develop with age. Knowledge of gender stereotypes, awareness of their existence, increases the older individuals are, whereas attitudes towards gender stereotypes decrease.



Bem (1981) suggests that people develop cognitive associations of several attributes, behaviours or objects with either gender. These “schemas” conform pieces of information that configure one’s knowledge about gender stereotypes, and “guide how people organise their world and behave towards others” (Bem, 1981).


In this way, children soon and actively learn “cues about gender, who should or should not do a particular activity or who can play with whom” (Martin & Ruble, 2004, p. 67).

In terms of using their social cognition skills, Dean, Harwood and Kasari (2017) point out that autistic females, more often than autistic males, may use camouflaging techniques, such as taking turns, asking to join in games, or having conversations, to conceal certain degree of autistic difficulties when interacting with others (Dean, Harwood, & Kasari, 2017).




Through this novel research, I am exploring the awareness of the existence of Gender Stereotypes in Adolescents (11-16 years old) with or without a diagnosis of autism.






-An adolescent member

-Adolescent siblings

-An adolescent with an autism diagnosis




9 anonymous surveys:
-3 to be completed by a parent/caregiver (about autistic traits and your views on your adolescent’s social awareness) (5 minutes).
-6 to be completed by the adolescent participant (about receptive language, strengths, social awareness and knowledge of and attitudes towards Gender Stereotypes) (30 minutes) 




-Receive a home-visit.

-Receive a phone-call.



Find out more about this research on the link below. Book a visit or continue online.


Thank you very much for your time.


All the best,
Miguel Lois 
PhD Candidate >>



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