Modern gender roles
Gender role has been defined as the responsibilities assigned to a man or woman depending on culture, race, and religious beliefs. The roles men and women share in the society have changed significantly over the last 50 years. In this case, the paper explains the roles men and women have taken in the last fifty years, and how they have changed. It further explains factors contributing to these changes. 50 years ago, women roles were very different as compared to present. For instance, at the start, and during World War 1, women were mostly socialised to attend to home duties, children, and farming chores. Further, women were destined to married and give birth to children. This is what mostly defined a woman and her roles in the society. In this case, their early curriculum concentrated on preparing them for their roles as housewives, mothers, and caregivers. They were taught using domestic sciences as compared to technical subjects.
Men were considered as providers and protectors of the home. As such, they went to work and look for essential commodities for their families. Also, they were expected to be strong, not show emotions, and go out to war in defence of their countries. Women had less power than men, and they submitted and listened to their husbands. Mostly women could not talk in presence of men unless asked to as it was considered rude and a sign of disrespect. Where the homestead had male children, it was men’s responsibility to teach the boys how to be responsible men in the society, while women were left to teach girls how to behave and carry themselves in the society. These roles changed significantly with time due to industrialisation and economic development. As such, exposure brought most of the changes. Availability of opportunities, education, and better living conditions allowed the female gender to access education. This was referred to as women empowerment.
Due to these changes, the roles started changing, women started doing male chores, and men started helping at home. Due to education, women started following their careers, got employment, and started bills in the house. Further, they could take on technical careers that were mostly believed to be male-dominated such as engineering, plant operators, and fire fighters. Recently, there has been debate for gender equality where women are advocating for better opportunities in the communities. Also, most of the managerial positions have been offered to men over the past year, which has changed significantly as women are clinching the top positions in the industry. Also, men are helping more with house chores as compared to the past. They take care of children and cook while the wives are at work. Most of the responsibilities are shared equally in most modern homes as a result of globalization. In such cases, as both genders work and follow their carrier path, it also becomes important to share responsibilities at home. Technology has also contributed significantly to these changes. For example, women have access to empowerment platforms that encourage them to follow their dreams and careers. In certain aspects, women are the sole providers in their homes due to the need to be independent, and not answer to any man.
Changing gender roles in society
Over the last 50 years, a lot has changed, especially within society. Laws have changed, policies have been introduced and conflict has been stopped. Not only has the above changed, but also the way in which society accepts and looks upon the population has greatly changed too. One key change that has been made is how the identities of genders have adapted. Society has become a lot more accepting within the last half-century especially when considering sexuality (Haller, Max, and Franz, 1994). The identity of people in societies are now more accepted and understood.
According to Bolzendahl, Catherine and Daniel(2004), the identities of people within a society have fluctuated significantly over the last 50 years; however, it is the change of gender identities that have transformed the most over time, especially within the female population. Many issues within society have contributed to the identities of gender; Conflict, culture, the media, behavioural aspects of society. Firstly, the conflict has a huge part to play in the development of identities. The role of women has greatly changed in the last 50 years. For instance, when in work the women were required to tuck away their hair into caps, and wear trousers and steal cap boots; essentially transforming them into a very masculine form. Despite conflict seeming to have a positive effect on women’s identity, it also appears to have an equally negative effect (Bolzendahl, Catherine and Daniel, 2004, pg. 25). The way in which women proved to have the ability to perform at the same levels of the male population transformed their identity into hardworking, reliable and independent women; showing society that they are capable of more than just looking after their families. They showed that they are able to work and provide for the families, thus changing the widespread opinions on society; that women are incapable of such things. In this way, the changes in the identities of women had a truly positive effect on the female population and society at the time.
Today’s modern man is in a state of alienation from his ‘purpose’ and insecurity over what it really means to be a man. This has come in direct relation to the breakdown of the family and through the rise of women in the workplace. Although I would never argue that a woman does not have an equal stand to do whatever she wants, the success of feminism in empowering women to break the chains of social roles did little or nothing in empowering change in our concepts of the male role (Gauntlet, 2008). And although the trend of the single mother family may not have been the direct dream of the feminist worship of the mother goddess, the indifference to the importance of the father as an equal god has left many men not paying full respect to the miraculous responsibility of fatherhood. It is also key to look at the way in which the role of man as breadwinner is becoming obsolete not only through the success of women in the workforce but also because mothers are now encouraged to return to work as early as possible and in fact shunned if she doesn;t. The importance of the partner/father to play an active and vital role is negated as well as the virtues of family values forgotten.
Haller, Max, and Franz Hollinger. “Female employment and the change of gender roles: The conflictual relationship between participation and attitudes in international comparison.” International Sociology 9.1 (1994): 87-112.
Bolzendahl, Catherine I., and Daniel J. Myers. “Feminist attitudes and support for gender equality: Opinion change in women and men, 1974–1998.” Social forces 83.2 (2004): 759-789.
Gauntlett, David. Media, gender and identity: An introduction. Routledge, 2008