In Gathering Blue, author Lois Lowry seems to purposely make the society as opposite from the first novel in this series, The Giver, as she possibly can. Rather than the safe, organized world of The Giver, the society of Gathering Blue strives to survive in a dark, unfriendly world every day. The Gathering Blue society makes distinctions between many social groups: rich and poor, handicapped and able-bodied, adults and children, men and women. The society that Kira lives in has many divisions full of inequalities.
In short, the society gives men all the rights and the women have none. Men are educated but women are note and may not even learn to read for example. Men make all the rules and decisions. The roles they play in society are very different. For example, men hunt and women gather. Men play a part in governing councils and women do not.