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Gender Roles Abroad

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Gender Roles Abroad

Your host country’s cultural attitude towards gender roles and norms may be different from those here in the U.S. Some countries have rigid gender roles that are ingrained into local customs and/or laws, while others are more fluid with their perception of gender. Depending on where you go, you may be treated differently (or be expected to treat others differently) based on the culture’s attitudes toward gender roles and gender rights. Finding ways to engage with these differences and to learn from them is an important part of cross-cultural understanding. However, being sensitive to cross-cultural differences does not mean you need to tolerate behaviors that you find offensive or that make you feel unsafe. Be sure to review our guidance and resources for sexual harassment or assault abroad: 

Use the questions and resources below to research the impact gender roles may have on your study abroad experience.

Questions to Con​sider

  • Which genders are recognized in your host country? What are the gender roles in your intended host country? 
  • How are the expectations and attitudes towards gender similar or different from those in your home community?
  • Do legal rights differ by gender in your intended host country?
  • How do individuals express their gender in your intended host country (clothing, language, appearance)?
  • What are the cultural norms for friendships and dating?
  • How are issues such as gender-based violence, sexual harassment, or sexual assault understood and responded to?


You will likely find that many of the gender-related resources are specific to travelers who identify as women. Nevertheless, travelers who identify as men or nonbinary should still consider the questions above and be aware of resources for sexual harassment or assault abroad.

Question: Looking for additional resources to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students abroad? Visit our LGBTQ+ Abroad page.

Question: Do you have additional resources to share? If so, we'd love to hear from you.