Traditional Gender Roles Since the 1800’s and 1900’s

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Traditional gender roles have and are changing dramatically over the years since the 1800’s and 1900’s. Roles you thought were strictly just for men or women have taken a turn and we are seeing roles adjust. Throughout this essay, I will discuss what were some traditional genders roles that men and women were accustom to, how they morph into today’s roles, the policy’s placed for these changes and most importantly the pros and cons it comes with it.

Before I explain how male roles have changed, we need to know what roles solely belonged to men.

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Men were the only ones to have social power, and be educated. Men were also able to participate in government, which also led them to serve as public officials, and participate in government by voting. Also some traditional male roles are typically being the head of the house, being the breadwinner, which usually involves working to death to pay for the house, the food, the bills, and the credit card that the misses is using. Another role is being the protector of the house and the family. And one important role is to lead; they must lead their family the way they best know how too.

Some female traditional role expectations are taking care the home and the kids. They were also the primary spiritual instructors in the home. Women were also subordinate to men. What this means is that once they got married, their property was tied to their husbands. Women rights and roles have changed drastically over time, women are now allowed to vote, receive education; own property and they barely had any good health benefits compare to what they can receive now.

Their have been many policies in placed to help women. Some of these polices are, In March 2013, President Obama signed the third reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which enacted new provisions to improve protections for Native American women and LGBT victims, and strengthens protections for immigrant survivors and college and university students (Fact sheet).

Another one is, in March 2010, the President signed the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurance companies from charging higher premiums solely on the basis of sex. Because of the law, most health plans must now cover preventive services, including well-woman check-ups, contraceptive services and screening and counseling for domestic or intimate partner violence, at no cost to the consumer (Fact sheet). The on-going gender revolution in higher education, that is, that women are now outnumbering men in European universities and that they are also graduating more successfully (Lutz 2008). As you can see, women actually have a higher success rate when it comes to graduating college.

Even throughout major wars like World War I and II, the armies consist of only men and not women; they were apart of the military but were not allow to fight. Women were only allowed to be nurses and assist the injured. Approximately 350,000 American women joined the military during World War II. They worked as nurses, drove trucks, repaired airplanes, and performed clerical work to free up men for combat. Those who joined the Women’s Air force Service Pilots (WASPs) flew planes from the factories to military bases (American Women).

There was also some cultural resistance to women going to work in such male-dominated environments. In order to recruit women for factory jobs, the government created a propaganda campaign centered on a figure known as Rosie the Riveter (American Women). Rosie was tough but yet feminine. To reassure men that the demands of war would not make women too masculine, some factories gave female employees lessons in how to apply makeup, and cosmetics were never rationed during the war. Keeping American women looking their best was believed to be important for morale. It is insane to see that even when men were fighting at war, they still wanted to make sure women would not develop a backbone.

Jobs that were only for men are now allowing women to join and be apart of their organization. Men are becoming more hands on in their household and helping the women with cooking, cleaning, etc. I am married myself and I cook when my wife is to tried to do so, also I do laundry. If I was born 50 years ago, I highly doubt it will be ok for a man to do those things.

Gender roles will continue to change over time, we are still waiting for the first women President, but the way things are changing it can be sooner than what we think. Men roles are shifting for the better at least in my opinion; they are becoming more than just the provider of a family. Spiritually men are now responsible to lead their family now. As a Christ follower, men are the head of the household and are to lead their wives and children spiritually and physically.

Works Cited

Gender and Sexuality in Colonial America, and Sexuality/Gender Roles.htm.

UNECE. (2013). Statistical Database (accessed July 4, 2013), United Nations. (2011). Men in Families and Family Policy in a Changing World. New York: Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, UN.

Van Bavel, J. (2012). The reversal of gender inequality in education, union formation and fertility in Europe. Vienna Yearbook of population Research, 10, 127-154.

American Women and World War II. Khan Academy, Khan Academy, wwii/a/american-women-and-world-war-ii.

FACT SHEET: Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, office/2015/09/27/fact- sheet-promoting-gender-equality-and-womens- empowerment.

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Traditional Gender Roles since the 1800's and 1900's. (2020, May 03). Retrieved from