A gender role is the pattern of masculine or feminine behaviour or duties defined by a particular culture or social group. Every society has a gender system, although the components and workings of this system vary widely between societies and over time.
In many ways, gender identity and roles function like any other social identity and role. Every known human society presents individuals with a set of statuses by which members of the society identify themselves and one another, and which to some extent determine the interaction between them.
Gender role covers a wide spectrum of expectations from the trivial, such as what clothes are worn, to the vital, such as child-rearing. It includes aspects of submissiveness and dominance although these are not typically followed in BDSM, where there is often a wider acceptance of variety than in the surrounding society.
There is much debate on the extent to which biological gender or gender stereotyping is connected with gender role. Most people accept that there are genuine psychological differences in behaviour and cognition between men and women on average while acknowledging that individual differences - sometimes very varied - within each group also exist.