Gender roles are behavioral and social standards that are perceived to be appropriate within the community, in reference to both boys and girls. It is important for both girls and boys to understand their roles since this greatly affects their social development. The roles for both boys and girls are clearly influenced by the factors around them such as the media, society, family, and their environment.
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Understanding their roles greatly influences how boys and girls will socialize with their age sets and other age groups. In the twenty-first Century, girls have greatly stepped up and assumed some of the roles that were considered to be boy’s while boys have done the same leading to an interchange of roles.
In the old days, men were perceived to be more equipped with skills and competent than ladies, but this dynamic has shifted. Girls have overcome this by getting the required skills for the high-skilled jobs. In the past, advertising of a vacant position in the newspaper, television, or radio displayed gender inequality. Most vacant position especially those that involved high technology fields such as electrician, information services, engineering, and much more were offered to men (Connell 40).
The old traditions have always maintained that the place for girls was at home and not in the outside world. Consequently, if girls were offered a job position it was a petty one such as a secretarial post or a cleaning post. Ladies have surpassed the popular expectations because most of the ladies in the twenty-first century have acquired education and skills that have kept them in the forefront while obtaining jobs that were once meant for men (Donaldson 650).
In the twenty-first century, ladies have proven to have leadership qualities that are equal to or better than those of men. Ladies with their motherly abilities are able to view what they have as their own and make very rational decisions that would enhance the growth of their companies or what the organizations that they are leading (West and Zimmerman 128). On the other hand, men tend not to focus on the improvement but rather focus on how they would benefit or gain from the whole business.
History is full of examples of women who used their femininity to improve the quality of their leadership. For example, Harriet Tubman a black abolitionist who is set to appear in the American currency fought for inequality without relying on any perceived masculinity (Oakley 23). In the end, the results of Tubman’s work were not different from those of her male counterparts. On the other hand, men have various inherent biases that result from their need to maintain masculine images and pursue egotistical goals. The realization of women’s natural leadership abilities is responsible for the ascension of various women to positions of leadership throughout the world.
Women are assuming responsibilities that were assumed by men in the past. Women have stepped up and assumed the roles that were traditionally held by men. For example, one outstanding gender tradition involves bestowing men the responsibility of putting food on the table, paying rent, and ensuring that their families have basic needs. According to statistics, it has been proven that in the twenty-first century three out of four women always get up early and prepare to do some of their domestic duties then leave for work (Inglehart and Norris 34).
Working women often face challenges in that they have to step up to enhance familial and financial stability. Most modern women might have witnessed their parent struggle in maintaining stability in their family and therefore work to ensure that they are independent to prevent such mishaps. Women are working in order to ensure that their children lead the lives, which they have always envisioned. Nevertheless, the poor wages that are offered to skilled females personnel as compared to men have been improving in the last decade. Even though ladies have the right skills for a particular job, they are often looked down upon by their employer as if they are not qualified.
This equality has been fought for by the Human Rights Commission and the female rights’ groups all over the world (Inglehart and Norris 56). The fact that this scenario is changing gradually is an indication that the roles of boys and girls have changed in the course of the last generation. Consequently, what matters in the modern workplace is being a competent worker with the required skills and working for the same hours with all the other colleagues whereby wages are the same. Taking advantage of the female worker in the twenty-first century has declined since the enacting of several rules and laws that prevent this phenomenon.
Men have learnt to be flexible in modern times since the family responsibilities are shared equally by men and women. Performing kitchen chores and taking care of the babies while the woman is working until late in the evening are some of the female roles that men have taken up. It is important to note that basic developmental psychology states that the upbringing of men influences the role in that they will play in the family (Connel 77).
In case men saw their mothers struggling in obtaining their basic needs they will always be in the forefront when opposing the traditional roles of women. On the other hand, the current generation is made up of both traditionally and modern inclined individuals but the latter has proved to be the most dominant force (Baker 25). In future, there is a possibility that the role change when it comes to flexibility of the men folk will be uniform across all demographics.
The fact that women are getting involved in sports activities and other physical actions that were reserved for men is another indicator of the changing roles between boys and girls. In 1972, a bill was passed and a law that prevented discrimination of gender in public institutions was enacted. The Title IX “was a federal law that was to ensure that all schools irrespective of whether it is a high school or a college would offer funds to any student that was active in extra curriculum activities” (Balish 418).
Activities such as boxing were considered to be for the boys but ladies still had a passion for them. Consequently, it is the norm all over the world for women to compete for medals and great prices are awarded to the sports winners. Female athletes have the same rights and enjoy the same privileges as their male counterparts. A good example of a sports lady who has always had outstanding results is Serena William, the tennis player.
The percentage of women participating in athletics has grown from fifteen percent in 1972 to about thirty-seven percent in 1993 and to approximately 50% in 2014 (Balish 418). This trend clearly shows that roles of boys and girls in the sports arenas are quickly changing. On the other hand, the fact that men are more physically fit than women has not discouraged ladies from engaging in activities that require more energy. In the present days, females are taking up the roles as workers in construction sites where a lot of energy is required.
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The perception that women have little energy does not keep them from engaging in strenuous activities either for sport or sustenance. On the other hand, men have since recognized that women do not have sports handicaps. This change of roles is quite healthy since it relieves the tension that was previously witnessed between boys and girls within the school and work environments.
In modern times, decision-making responsibilities have shifted from male to female realms. Traditionally men were the ones who had the final say in everything in case of any dispute that arose in the community or the family group. In addition, all decision-making committees of the past were constituted of men. Men were believed to be very knowledgeable and they were very good at making their decisions without favoring any of the persons that were accused. Women were thought to be so emotional and unable to make unbiased decisions (Donaldson 652). Currently, women constitute various decision-making organs and they also head strategic committees.
Decisions involving family issues are made by both the male and the female to prevent imbalances that may occur later on. For instance, family issues like where to live, what to buy and to invest in are some of the decisions that are made by women since some of them are the ones who cater for major expenses. In corporate settings, women take up the role of decision making since most of them are given the mandate to lead the companies. Over the last century, women have strived to make themselves part of the decision-making process.
Science has also contributed to the changing roles between boys and girls whereby either gender relies on the same forms of technology for advancement. For instance, there are various apps that relay gender-specific knowledge across the board. Consequently, any boy and girl who wants to improve on any specific area can rely on these platforms (Inglehart and Norris 87). Science is also looking into the possibility of taking some natural gender roles from men and giving them to women and vice versa.
For example, Science can also enable a male to take up the responsibility of female in carrying a fetus to full term and bearing a child although it has not yet been proven yet.
Clearly, the twenty-first century environment is characterized by major role shifts between boys and girls. For example, it is no longer the responsibility of any particular gender to engage in the decision-making process, wake up and go to work, or maintain financial stability on behalf of the other family members. Men have also taken up the roles that traditionally were considered to be female-oriented such as doing house chores, taking care of the little children, working as chefs, and hairdressers. In future, there will be less distinction when it comes to gender roles as individuals and the society settle into the new social order.
Baker, Wayne. “Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values.” American Sociological Review 2.5 (2010): 19-51. Print.
Balish, Shea. “Evolutionary Sport and Exercise Psychology: Integrating Proximate and Ultimate Explanations.” Psychology of Sport and Exercise 14.3 (2013): 413-422. Print.
Connell, Robert. Masculinities, California, LA: University of California Press, 2005. Print.
Donaldson, Mike. “What is Hegemonic Masculinity?.” Theory and Society 22.5 (2003): 643-657. Print.
Inglehart, Ronald, and Pippa Norris. Rising tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.
Oakley, Ann. Sex, Gender and Society, New York, NY: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2015. Print.
West, Candace, and Don Zimmerman. “Doing Gender.” Gender & Society 1.2 (2007): 125-151. Print.