Over the years, automatic gender recognition has been used in many applications. However, limited research has been done on analyzing gender recognition across ethnicity scenario. This research aims at studying the performance of discriminant functions including Principal Component Analysis, Linear Discriminant Analysis and Subclass Discriminant Analysis with the availability of limited training database and unseen ethnicity variations. The experiments are performed on a heterogeneous database of 8112 images that includes variations in illumination, expression, minor pose and ethnicity. Contrary to existing literature, the results show that PCA provides comparable but slightly better performance compared to PCA+LDA, PCA+SDA and PCA+SVM. The results also suggest that linear discriminant functions provide good generalization capability even with limited number of training samples, principal components and with cross-ethnicity variations. © 2011 IEEE.