How Rigid Gender Expectations from Society May Become Oppressive to Both Men and Women
Several changes have been witnessed in the 21st century, including same-gender marriage and promoting cultural diversity. One of the greatest achievements in this century is the eradication of the irrelevant traditional beliefs, customs, and attitudes toward gender roles. In past societies, individuals performed gender roles that are different from those performed today. For instance, women were expected to play adaptive and supportive roles, such as cleaning the household, cooking, and taking care of children, whereas men were expected to protect their families and act as leaders of the households. This perspective explains why most societies were chauvinistic, whereby men dominated households, and women were expected to perform the mentioned primary roles, such as cooking. Many people in ancient societies believed that women Hwere weak; hence they could not enjoy powerful roles of leading and protecting households, which were preserved for men. However, in the 19th and 20th centuries, feminist movements emerged to challenge such rigid gender roles. Due to the contribution of the feminist movements, the 21st century witnessed a phase of change concerning gender roles and expectations, such as access to education and employment opportunities.
In the 20th century, access to education and opportunities for men was different from that of women. Women were left behind in past societies due to a lack of access to equal education and employment opportunities. With this perspective in mind, many men increasingly became successful in past societies. In American society, this narrative changed when women were allowed to access equal education and employment opportunities (Stearns, 2015). However, society was reluctant to adopt these changes. Thus, women struggled to enter into male-dominated fields, such as engineering, despite having similar qualifications such as masters and bachelor degrees. It took a while for employers to believe that women were strong enough to perform certain hard tasks.
In the 21st century, women have proved that they can be more effective than men in the formerly male-dominated sectors. For instance, women have proved that they can make better decisions and be effective in various leadership positions as compared to their male counterparts (Eklund, Barry, & Grunberg, 2017). However, women are still subjected to oppression by gender expectations in the employment sector. In many cases, women miss out on particular employment despite having the required qualifications or even being more qualified than their male counterparts. Women encounter such situations because some male employers believe that they lack emotional intelligence that interferes with their judgment while performing certain tasks. Women also miss employment opportunities and seizing leadership positions because some male employers believe that they are not strong enough. Low-wage for women is one of the current issues in American society that proves that women are still oppressed (Ali & Gordon, 2018). In some organizations, women receive lower wages as compared to their male counterparts within the same job positions despite having similar qualifications.
Cultural changes witnessed in the 21st-century show significant progress made by today’s society in gender roles and expectations. However, there is still much to be done regarding the rigid gender roles. Today’s society needs to be committed to streamlining various relationships and issues related to gender roles and expectations. For example, men still play leading roles and make decisions in various households. Conversely, women still depend on men to protect them and expect them to provide for their families. Besides, men expect women to play primary caregiver roles in various households (Butler, 2012). With the emergence of diversity, this narrative is gradually changing as men have started to take care of children, and women have begun to provide for their families. There are reservations on whether both men and women can perform such roles. If society embraces this ideology and the overall perspective about gender roles does not change, things could worsen in the coming years. The rigid gender roles and expectations that may be oppressing both men and women should be eradicated in every way possible to make society a good place for both men and women.
Ali, A., & Gordon, N. (2018). Traditional gender roles: Social and cultural influences on oppression and resistance. The war on women in the United States: Beliefs, tactics, and the best defenses, 1.
Butler, L. (2012). Diversity and conformity: The role of gender. In Angelini, P. U. (Ed.) Our society: Human diversity in Canada, 4th Edition (pp. 217-240). Toronto: Nelson Education.
Eklund, K. E., Barry, E. S., & Grunberg, N. E. (2017). Gender and leadership. Gender differences, 129-150. Retrieved from https://www.intechopen.com/books/gender-differences-in-different-contexts/gender-and-leadership
Stearns, P. N. (2015). Gender in world history. London: Routledge.
How Different Societal and Historical Changes Have Transformed Family Life in Canada
Since the 1950s, family life in Canada has witnessed a shift and diversification in family forms and household arrangements. In the 20th and 21st centuries, a standard family comprised of a father, mother, and children. This definition has existed for several years, even though things have changed in terms of what a family derives from society. According to Canada’s census, a family includes married couples with or without children living at home. Numerous factors, such as proactive, residential, socialization, economic, and emotional dimensions, help to explain the changing patterns of family life in Canada.
In the 21st century, Canadian family life appears to have changed significantly. One of the dimensions that explain the considerable change in Canadian family life is the proactive dimension. In the 20th century, birth rates were at their peak. However, the birth rates have since declined by at least 53 percent from that period (Case & Deaton, 2017). The decline in birth rates is because Canadian women give birth much later in life as compared to how the situation was in the 20th century when they gave birth at an early age. Many women also tend to focus more on their career paths than motherhood. These perspectives explain why most families in Canada are becoming smaller, and some do not have children in this century. The idea of Canadian families abandoning or moving away from getting children in this century is also attributed to the rising changes in women’s roles and attitudes in today’s society.
The residential dimension is another important factor that has contributed to the changing pattern of family life in Canada. The lack of diversity that characterizes the nuclear family has largely affected the traditional norm of Canada, creating robust nuclear households. In the 21st century, there has been a steady divorce rate across the country that has contributed to a significant increase in one-parent households. Thus, both parents are forced to take care of their children from different places. Canada’s traditional system of marriage has also lost its significance because single women in this century prefer to have children before they get married, thus increasing the number of single-parent households.
The change in family life patterns in Canada can also be attributed to the socialization dimension. In the 20th century, men were perceived to be family providers, while women depended on their male counterparts for protection. Women were seen as primary caregivers in every household. With the emergence of diversity, both men and women are equally capable of playing the same roles. At the beginning of the 21st century, Canadians started practicing norms and values that encourage both men and women to disregard the traditional approach to role differentiation. The norms and values encourage both men and women to work together to build and maintain their families’ financial stability.
The economic dimension has also brought a change in Canadian families’ life patterns. In the 20th century, many women across Canada were unemployed. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, a rise in the number of employed women was reported. The rise in the number of unemployed women has triggered an increase in the number of dual-income families across Canada (Wilkinson et al., 2016). However, the critical development over this period has increased the gap between the rich and the poor, and the most affected are single-parent households.
The emotional dimension has affected most Canadian families as well. It is believed that the psychological aspects of most family relationships have led to domestic violence. In 2016, Canadian police reported that women had filed at least 38,000 family assault cases across the country (Ondercin-Bourne, 2012). Considering this fact, many families have separated, thereby contributing to an increase in the number of single-parent households.
Overall, several factors, such as socialization and emotional dimensions, have significantly affected Canadian families. Many Canadian women in the 21st century are employed and are working together with their husbands to build and support their families. However, many of the Canadian women have been subjected to domestic violence and oppression that have resulted in the separation of families and an increase in the number of single-parent households across the country.
Case, A., & Deaton, A. (2017). Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century. Brookings papers on economic activity, 2017(1), 397-476. Retrieved from https://data.nber.org/mortality-and-morbidity-in-the-21st-century/casetextsp17bpea.pdf
Ondercin-Bourne, G. (2012). Diversity in Canadian families: Traditional values and beyond. In Angelini, P. U. (Ed.) Our society: Human diversity in Canada, 4th Edition (pp. 277-312). Toronto: Nelson Education.
Wilkinson, L., Bhattacharyya, P., Bucklaschuk, J., Shen, J., Chowdhury, I. A., & Edkins, T. (2016). Understanding job status decline among newcomers to Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 48(3), 5-26. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/652605/pdf