The chief executive of the Fawcett Society has said that the problem of gender stereotyping is “endemic” within UK society and it is “damaging for young men”.
Research by the gender equality charity indicated that half of adults believed their career choices were constrained and almost as many said personal relationships had been harmed.
Sam Smethers told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “A lot of the stereotyping we see is particularly damaging for young men and I think that causes all sorts of problems later in life.
“There are problems with aggression and being unable to express their emotions, or being judged if they do choose to express their emotions.
“That hounds women too because we want them to express their emotions. We want them to have a part in caring for their children.
“It is not only about one section of society. It is endemic, it is absolutely everywhere.”
'Men's and women's jobs'
A separate study by easyJet suggested that children's ideas about future careers have not moved on in a generation and are still based on a gender divide.
A survey of 2,000 parents and children under the age of 16 found that most believed career choices were restricted by traditional ideas of "men's and women's jobs".
Ms Smethers said that parents could “challenge gender norms” by changing the books they read to their children to encourage alternative roles.
She added: “The conversations going on between sex and gender in early life, between 0-7 ages, is when can mould and shape attitudes more effectively.
“What we are fundamentally trying to do is remove constraints, we are not saying that women should not care and men should not work.
“We are trying to free people up to do what they want to do. If that still means that women do the caring then fair enough.”
Ms Smethers also suggested challenge retailers on how they market children's products.