The Differing Behavioural Patterns of Women and Men Throughout the Ages
Both males and females have similar needs in order to survive.
Historically however, Britain's social structure has contributed to
significant differences in opportunity and outcome between the genders
resulting in prejudice and discrimination against more women than men
over time. It is in the areas of family, education and work that these
differences are most pronounced.
In 1775, Sir William Blackstone explained, "by marriage the very being
or legal existence of a woman is suspended or at least is incorporated
or consolidated into that of the husband under whose wing, protection
and cover she performs everything and she is therefore called in our
law, a femme covert...". In the 1800s women were not even considered
legal entities. This meant that they were not actually considered
persons in the legal sense. They could not be sued. In 1894 an
anti-suffragist politician, George Riddoch, in Parliament said, "Every
woman who uses up her national vitality in a profession or business or
in study will bear feeble, rickety children and is spending her
infant's inheritance on herself." During the Industrial Revolution a
husband was entitled to seize a woman's wages and personal property
even if he had deserted her. These are excellent examples of how long
social differentiation between males and females has been
institutionalised within society.
Although males have been consistently seen as better off in the gender
divide, recent trends and research have started to highlight the
problems and difficulties that British men face in the modern world.
Traditionally the male voice has been confined by the cultural ideas
that men are reliant upon the "stiff upper lip", of not complaining.
To be a British male simply means to be "strong, silent and
competitive, a provider and protector for your family, get on with the
job and don't complain". Increasingly these concepts of British
masculinity are being challenged in our ever-changing world. Many men
are expressing frustration and alienation in the constantly changing
definitions of male roles in the wider community. The last decade has
seen an acceleration of change and construction of a new social order.
Social change never has only one outcome and the changing role of
women in society has also meant a redefinition of the social role of
men. These changes can be found in any number of social experiences
such as education, work and family relations. Furthermore these
changes are affecting the future generations of British men. Richard
Fletcher, who runs a program on the coming of age of boys, and the
transition to manhood, believes that the failings of men in positions
of power and influence have deprived young British males of positive