How Have Roles Between Men and Women Changed Within The Household?

The Contributing Factors

Growing up, we were always taught that a woman main job is to take care of the children at home while men go out to work and provide for their family. In today’s society, things have changed tremendously and there is now more gender equality when it comes to the roles we are supposed to have within our homes and community. We, as children, have been shown at a young age that our mothers are supposed to be more nurturing and provide more personal care to us when we need it. Our fathers on the other hand are supposed to be the more serious, hard-working parents who take care of the family financially and doesn’t deal with the emotional aspect of things. There are many reasons why most families expect it to be this way, but I personally don’t agree with it. Many people do not agree with having the roles reversed because “that is not the was it’s supposed to be” and “mothers belong at home taking care of the children”. I think its time people start taking a look at the bigger picture and realize that it is okay for a father to stay home instead. Maybe this way, we will begin to see that men can be more nurturing and women can take the lead and be more “powerful”.

Throughout the 1900’s, women had a strict parental role of taking care of the children and cleaning the home. “Over and over again, across countries, women were identified and identified themselves as “homemakers”, the keepers of the family, responsible for the well-being of their children and husbands”(Swaziland 1997). Women were always seen as powerless, while men were the decision makers and had the main role of providing. “Today, more than seventy-three million women participate in the U.S. workforce and more than forty percent of working mothers are the sole or primary income earner in their household” (Stalsburg 2016). Things are changing and it all seems to start with the way we are raised. More women now are growing up with the hopes of being a doctor, coach, teacher, business woman, etc. Not long ago this never would have been allowed. Women today are chasing after their dreams and are forcing the roles in the household to change. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development focuses on identity vs. role confusion. “During each stage of life, people face developments conflict that has to do with social interaction and relationships which affects development and growth” (Cherry 2017).  Upon this growth, kids are learning that although parents are supposed to have certain roles, they can be reversed and changed.            

During different stages of our lives, we begin to develop toward the way we view certain roles. At a young age we all want to form an identity. This can include choosing a career path, deciding what social group to be apart of or developing a personal style. With choosing these identities, we can come to the conclusion of whether or not we want to conform to the gender roles set for us or not. More women are choosing not to, which is making our community and workplaces more diverse and men are no longer the only ones having to provide financially. If a young girl grows up seeing her mother work and father stay at home, she is going to feel as if she can now do what she wants and go after her dream job. Different psychological perspectives can influence us to be these certain ways. “In Kohlberg’s developmental theory, gender identity is ascribed a key role in the gender development process. This approach to gender identity centers on children learning to gender label themselves and others”(Bussey and Bandura 1999). This theory is saying that at a young age, we realize our gender identity which is a major motivator of what role we want to end up taking in life and in our households. Some women do not have a problem being the one that stays at home to nurture the children, but other may see this is a major problem and want this changed.

A big reason why there is controversy over why a woman should stay home rather than a man is because of a mans ego. Most men think they need to be the main provider and decision maker because they do not want to seem less of a man. We have this view on men that they cannot be empathetic or show emotions. They always have to be the strongest and in charge. I think this is a big downfall when it comes to communities and the way we view things. “Men have experienced a threat to their social status, self respect, and confidence in their economic role as a provider for their family, through increased dependence no the informal warnings of their wife to meet basic household needs”(Swaziland 1997). If men could except the role of staying home and letting their wives provide financially for a change, we may experience more empathetic men which could possible lead to a more empathetic world. Personally, I know that having a father who was home all the time and was sensitive made me realize that our world would probably be a better place if more men were like that. He is completely supportive of my mother not being the “stay at home mom” and he excepts the fact that he took on her “role” as the stay at home parent.            

Being in a household with a mother who provides financially and a father staying at home may seem very different to some people but for me, it is normal. My father works from home and my mother has a nine to five job. Although my dad is the major provider for our family, my mother is the one who is gone from home, working most of the day. Since I have been a little girl my mom wasn’t home until 6pm every night. She still cooked dinner for us, but my dad was always the one cleaning up and being there to take care of me while she was gone. Personally, I believe this changed the way I viewed certain parental roles. A child who grew up having a mother at home and father gone is going to think differently from someone like me. The Social Cognitive Theory talks about how people develop conceptions of themselves from their experiences. My personal experience with my mother and father made me grow up thinking it was normal for a father to have the same role as a mother. My dad is now still the more nurturing of the two and my mother is the more strict, hard-working one. I don’t think that it really matters which parents has each role, as long as a child experiences the concept of having both.

References

Bussey, K. (2011). Gender Identity Development. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from PDF

Cherry, K. (2017, November 8). How Testing Out Different Identities Is a Key Part of Teenage Development. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.verywellmind.com/identity-versus-confusion-2795735

Neuman, F.  (2013, January 4). Changing Gender Roles in Marriage. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fighting-fear/201301/changing-gender-roles-in-marriage

Stalsburg, P. B. (2016, May 10). Women Are Working More Than Ever Inside The Home And Out. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/brittany-l-stalsburg-phd/women-are-working-more-the_b_9878996.html

Swaziland (1997). Changing Gender Relations In The Household. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from PDF