Structural inequality between women and men refers to the embedding of gender inequalities in social structures, based on institutionalised conceptions of gender differences. Conceptions of masculinity and femininity, ideas concerning expectations of women and men, internalised judgements of women’s and men’s actions, prescribed rules about proper behaviour of women and men – all of these, and more, encompass the organisation and persistence of gender inequality in social structures. The social and cultural environments, as well as the institutions that structure them and the individuals that operate within and outside these institutions, are engaged in the production and reproduction of gender norms, attitudes and stereotypes. Beliefs that symbolise, legitimate, invoke, guide, induce or help sustain gender equality are themselves a product of gender inequality.
United Nations (1979). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Concluding Observations issued by the CEDAW Committee. Available at: