There is no ambiguity in gender roles in The Pearl. The male is the leader of the household. He is dominant, he is the decision-maker, and the family’s welfare rests solely on his shoulders. The female, on the other hand, is submissive, deferent, and nearly always silent.
Juana may appear to embrace the role of the submissive wife, but she is actually the dominant partner.
Juana is forced into a gender role because she has to play the part of a mother. Once Coyotito is dead, she is free to be Kino’s equal.