Changing Gender Roles Essay

3242 words - 13 pages

Change in Gender Roles
Today, men and women seemingly have equal rights, but was that true one hundred years ago and if so, what sparked these changes? There is no doubt that the roles of men and women have changed throughout history, more so women than men. Women throughout history have strived for equal rights, opportunity, and education. Without the determination of these women, the world would be a very different place for women.
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century women had few rights, but made efforts to gain their rights. Women couldn’t vote, serve on juries, and couldn’t hold elective office, and they also faced a wide-range of discrimination that marked them as secondary citizens (Evans par.1). Women who were married were governed by their marital status; for example a married woman had no separate legal identity from her husband, had no right over her biological reproduction, she had no right to sue or be sued, and she couldn’t own property or even chose a career of her choice (Evans par.3). Married women were pretty much dominated by their husbands, if their husband wanted to have a baby than they would have a baby. By the early Twentieth Century women began to speak out and strive for a change. This sparked the first few changes of the decade (Evans par. 5).
Due to the expansion of women’s education and a wide variety of reform and profession, a massive suffrage movement began (Evans par.5). This movement led to the demand of the most basic rights of citizenship for women (Evans par.5). Women’s suffrage groups fought for equal rights, and in 1920 the 19th amendment was pasted, giving women the right to vote (Evans par.8). This was ultimately a huge achievement for women during this time. After women gained their right to vote it seems that this decade reached a plateau regarding education and labor force, and carried on throughout the 1930s (Evans par.8).
The 1940s provided great change and opportunities for women as men were called away to war. Businesses and companies that normally gave white men the higher paying jobs found themselves opening their doors to women, and even people of color (Bomarito and Hunter par.2). It was during this time that gender tension escalated, and many jobs were redefined as “women’s work” (Bomarito and Hunter par.2). According to Bomarito and Hunter, some of these jobs included, teaching, nursing, secretarial work, and telephone operator (par.2). These restrictions on gender roles continued into the 1950s, and were reinforced in high school classes.
During the 1950s women were suppose to take on certain roles, such as a caring mother, an assiduous homemaker, and compliant wife (RoobixCoob par.1). A good mother/wife took care of the children, had supper ready when her husband got home, and agreed with her husband on everything even if she really didn’t (RoobixCoob par.1). During this time period women were taught in school how to the perfect wife. There is actually an essay titled, “How to be a...

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