Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education



Mardi Schmeichel

Date of this Version



Teachers College Record (September 20, 2013), ID#17258.


Copyright © 2013 Teachers College Record. Used by permission.


Book review

The book The Gender Trap: Parents and the Pitfalls of Raising Boys and Girls is an example of the kind of nuanced research that works toward unraveling the complexities of gender as expressed in individual lives as well as larger societal patterns that contribute to problematic assumptions about who girls and boys and women and men must be. Sociologist Emily Kane focuses specifically on the “gender trap” in parenting, which she defines as “a set of expectations and structures that inhibit social change and stall many parents’ best intentions for loosening the limits that gender can impose on us.” Pointing to the variation and complexity of parents’ gender work with children, Kane makes a strong argument for the case that although gender structures are stable and enduring, parents possess the agency to aid their children in avoiding the gender trap, and in doing so can contribute to the dismantling of the social processes upon which gender inequity relies.