Woman - Culture and Gender Roles

Culture and Gender Roles

In many prehistoric cultures, women assumed a particular cultural role. In gatherer-hunter societies, women were generally the gatherers of plant foods, small animal foods and fish, while men hunted meat from large animals.

In more recent history, the gender roles of women have changed greatly. Traditionally, middle class women were involved in domestic tasks emphasizing child care. For poorer women, especially working class women, although this often remained an ideal, economic necessity compelled them to seek employment outside the home. The occupations that were available to them were, however, lower in pay than those available to men.

As changes in the labor market for women came about, availability of employment changed from only "dirty", long hour factory jobs to "cleaner", more respectable office jobs where more education was demanded, women's participation in the U.S. labor force rose from 6% in 1900 to 23% in 1923. These shifts in the labor force led to changes in the attitudes of women at work, allowing for the revolution which resulted in women becoming career and education oriented.

Movements advocate equality of opportunity for both sexes and equal rights irrespective of gender. Through a combination of economic changes and the efforts of the feminist movement, in recent decades women in most societies now have access to careers beyond the traditional homemaker.

Although a greater number of women are seeking higher education, salaries are often less than those of men. CBS News claims that in the United States women who are ages 30 to 44 and hold a university degree make only 62 percent of what similarly qualified men do, a lower rate than in all but three of the 19 countries for which numbers are available. Some Western nations with greater inequity in pay are Germany, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Read more about this topic:  Woman

Famous quotes containing the words roles, culture and/or gender:

    Productive collaborations between family and school, therefore, will demand that parents and teachers recognize the critical importance of each other’s participation in the life of the child. This mutuality of knowledge, understanding, and empathy comes not only with a recognition of the child as the central purpose for the collaboration but also with a recognition of the need to maintain roles and relationships with children that are comprehensive, dynamic, and differentiated.
    Sara Lawrence Lightfoot (20th century)

    I’ve finally figured out why soap operas are, and logically should be, so popular with generations of housebound women. They are the only place in our culture where grown-up men take seriously all the things that grown-up women have to deal with all day long.
    Gloria Steinem (b. 1934)

    ... lynching was ... a woman’s issue: it had as much to do with ideas of gender as it had with race.
    Paula Giddings (b. 1948)