Joshua provider to the children? Living with

Joshua Shone

Professor Smolka

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January 3, 2018

Gender Roles: Benefiting More”

Who should provide
for the family? This question means the same for traditional and
non-traditional gender roles, however has two different outcomes depending on
the way its looked at. In traditional gender roles, males are the provider for
their families. However, looking at non-traditional gender roles the male and female
come together to decide what best benefits the family. Who is considered the
caretaker and love provider to the children? Living with traditional roles will
say woman are, that men should be working and coming home to discipline the
children. When looked at from a non-traditional perspective it can be whomever
is around at the time, to take care of the children not just one set parent.
Non-traditional gender roles allow individuals to strive for and achieve goals
and careers that were not always available with traditional gender roles. While
also allowing for either male and females to choose what they would like to do
at home.

Traditional gender roles in the
twentieth century were highly suggestive of a male provider and female
caretaker at home. This is further explained in “Parental Role Portrayals
in Twentieth Century Children’s Picture Books: More Egalitarian or Ongoing
Stereotyping” by Amy L. Dewitt. It was given books between 1902 and 2000
had shown statistical significance for the “male breadwinner-female
homemaker model” (Dewitt 1). As many know young children are
impressionable. While growing up these young children look to role models, or
other sources that tell them how to act. While observing these children’s books
that show them the traditional gender roles, some can only imagine how that
could affect them.

These books may have started to shape
the mind of the young girls and boys. A young boy or girl may no longer have
the same dream and ambitions. This could be from a belief they have to stop and
start a family. That after that they must take care of children all day or go
to work for long periods of time. This could be further put in their heads from
how they see their own homes. In the Twentieth Century it was common for men to
be working and females home, because of the common traditional gender roles.

The twenty – first century improves
slightly. There is still a division of genders. However, traditional gender
roles have subsided more. While non-traditional gender roles become more common.
It is seen that woman are no longer staying home with the children as much. As
shown by Anke C. Plagnol in “Conference report: Gender inequalities in the
twenty-first century”. Plagnol explains that the first session began with
speaker Man Yee Kan who presented evidence of woman and men’s unpaid time
management within a home. Showing that woman’s unpaid time in the household has
declined. However, this does not mean everything is as good as it can be with
the non-traditional gender roles woman continue to be the main caretakers.
“The main part of unpaid domestic work is still done by females”
(Plagnol 688). This shows woman have gotten greater benefit from
non-traditional roles but are still held back by a glass ceiling in society.

The twentieth century
did not have many employment opportunities for woman. Traditional gender roles
don’t look at woman as independent or working. They try to keep woman contained
to a home, child or cooking. These woman that did work could not reach a job
that would put their full ability to use. A twentieth century job that was
considered great for smart woman, is todays equivalent of a cashier. Isobel
McDonald explains that women were in the work force however were not in jobs
that they wanted or could achieve for. ” both men and woman were clerks,
which was considered quality work for intelligent woman” (McDonald 313).
This shows how the traditional roles viewed even smart and intelligent woman
only worth working as a clerk or cashier.

gender roles in the twenty-first century allowed more woman and men to achieve
higher roles in workforce. Jobs have become more flexible to working mothers
and females in general. Many reasons that woman in traditional gender roles
were stuck was they couldn’t provide for themselves. With employers being more
willing to become flexible and allow for better times and hours, woman can go
further in the workforce. This is further supported by Doris R. Eikhof’s
publication ” A double-edged sword: twenty-first century workplace trends
and gender equality”. Through the publication it is explained how woman
have more opportunity if they choose to take it. That men also are achieving
more in the workforce. However, women are still under-represented in specific
roles in the work force. “reconciliation of work and life which
potentially benefits women’s work and careers.” (Eikhof 15). This further
explains that non-traditional gender roles give greater benefit for the working
woman. However, also it was also stated there are hidden consequences of
genders.  “consequences that
significantly prevent women from participating and advancing” (Eikhof 1). Therefore,
people today need non-traditional gender roles. To push for a time where a job
is won just from pure skill not what gender someone may be. Traditional gender
roles will take and aspirations of jobs from woman and make men feel tied down
to a job that allows him to provide.

Many of the arguments
made already are tied to marriage. Marriage has changed wildly from the
twentieth century to the twenty-first. Marriage is something that most people
will want later in their life. There are many reasons why someone would get
married. From love to economic advantages.

In the twentieth
century marriage was considered something that you had to do. Tarah Bookfield’s
publication “Reshaping Expectations and Emerging Anxieties: Ideal
Womanhood Receives a Makeover in Twentieth Century America”, explains the
way it used to be. “marriage was considered a wifely duty” (Bookfield
1). This shows how woman used to be considered just child bearers and nothing
but something for a man to get married to. This also can affect men; some men
may feel that they had to find someone to get married to. This can lead to
people not reaching their full potential because they are held back by the
loveless marriage. It’s not fair to men or women to tell them what they can and
cannot do based on gender. One of the greatest things about America is the
ability to have freedoms. The traditional gender roles in some ways can oppress
the freedoms. Not allowing females voices to be heard or not allowing people to
achieve the greatest versions of themselves.

It’s hard to imagine
the mental strength people living with traditional gender roles may have. The
amount of stress and mental strain traditional gender roles may put on people
could be insurmountable. A woman may be mentally stressed by the thought of
losing her husband in the twentieth century because she is not fulfilling the
“duties” traditional roles say she must. This is further supported by
Bookfield’s paper. “If they wanted to keep their husbands, they had to
create a welcoming home environment” (Bookfield 1). How does this affect a
woman’s mental health? Could it lead to females being increasingly unhappy in
their marriages and overall in their lives? If that happens to be the case the
couple is socially stuck together. Marriage in the twentieth century was important
socially and divorce was considered by many wrong. It was almost as if getting
divorced was in a way a “sin”, this was also due to the highly
religious time in America.

Men were to oversee
their families. Traditional roles say men will make all decisions in their
marriage at the time. Woman had little say in what a man can do, although men
could make almost all decisions for the woman. This has changed in the
twenty-first century.

Marriage in the
twenty-first century allows for more social mobility. It is known that today
there are large amounts of women in the work force, while still being married.
This shows how traditional gender roles had restricted these women. How they
did not put respect or trust into them. In Andrew J. Cherlin’s article
“American Marriage in the Early Twenty-First Century”, he explains
statistically marriage is higher. However, this also comes with divorce rates
being largely higher. This shows how choice is more accepted today. Men and
woman can choose to divorce if they feel like it no longer works to be
together. This allows them to reach goals they have always wanted but have been
held back by. Some marriages that stay together may argue often. If they happen
to have children that see this arguing how could they be affected? Young
children are always looking for role models, the arguments can affect these
children later in life. This could change the way they themselves have marriage
in their lives. This may even change the way they decide to treat people of the
same or opposite sex. There are many more problems young children could acquire
due to unhappy marriages.

Cherlin explains that
today’s society is more accepting of divorce and being single. “today
marriage is increasingly optional” (Cherlin 1). This is an effect of
non-traditional gender roles. This shows how the gender roles become more
accepting of people’s choice. If they feel they should be single that’s okay to
do. However, they get married that is also ok. They greatest effect
non-traditional gender roles have is they allow choice. That’s one of the best
qualities of non-traditional roles, having choice. Men and women can tell
society what they are and what they would like to be. Rather than having
society push them into a specific role that is supposed to work for everyone.

Theirs many things
that allow for kids to bond with their parents. In the twentieth century the
female gave care, so the kids would be closer to her. This was not the solo
reason as to why, male figures were often away at work. The small amount of
time they were hope they tended to be the discipline giver. That may have had a
negative effect on the way children viewed each parent. While also teaching
children to be the same way when they grow up. However, some of the most
crucial bonding time comes while the child is still an infant. Clair Cain
Miller’s New York Times article “Paternity Leave: The Rewards and
Remaining Stigma” further supports this claim. ” The best part was
forming the bond with her said, Mr. Bedrick had I not had that time with her, I
don’t think I’d feel as close to her as I do today” (Miller). This shows
us that traditional gender roles don’t allow for enough bonding time with
children. This can be used to explain many reasons as to why a parent may not
be close to their children. Without that critical bonding a child may not feel
as loved from both parents. Leading to deviance normally an act by children or
teens, to find attention from their parents.

This all doesn’t come
without consequence. Some males will not take paternity leave. This can range
from the stigma left socially. Some men may feel they could lose too much money
over that time. It’s possible that some men might be looked over for a
promotion because of taking the leave. Some people believe now that
non-traditional roles allow for more, children aren’t being raised by parents.
Now that both parents can work and provide, some children are growing up in day
care and other services.

However, the great
part about non-traditional roles is if you need more time with the children. You
can take that time, as explained earlier work schedules can be flexible for
working parents. While still allowing for social and career focused movement
for both parents.

Education is an
immense part of modern and older society. It is what allows for men and women
to reach their desired goals. To get most jobs in the twenty – first century
you need higher education to get there. While in the twentieth century it was a
smaller part, you would still need education to reach a higher pay and status.
Traditional gender roles tell women they should not be receiving higher
education. However, it tells men they should and can go as far as they would
like in school. Non-traditional roles even out the playing field and simply
allow for men and women to choose how far in education they would like to go.

The authors of “The
Worldwide Expansion of Higher Education in the Twentieth Century” Evan Schofer
and John W. Meyer’s goal was to bring light to the situation traditional roles
put on men and women in the educational system. Men were feeling forced to move
farther down the educational line. While women were stunted after a specific
education level. “Limited expansion especially for minorities, women, or lower
status groups” (Schofer, Meyer 898). This shows the way women were treated as
if they were not smart. They were told that they had to stop at a specific
level because that’s “the way it was”. Not only did they get stopped by society
itself, it was also the women’s duties to take care of the children at home.
This was why some women stopped their education also. The women at the time
couldn’t keep the house up to “standard”, while also maintaining an education.
Men where pushed into the upper levels of education simply because it was
available, only to them.


The twenty-first
century changed education for women and men alike. The mobility for women may
have still been limited at the start of the twenty-first century. However, they
later gain the ability to achieve the career’s and educations the same as men.
This is how non-traditional gender roles work. The men could simply stay at
home or go for higher education. Women were seen flooding into the higher
education classes and opportunity. However, there were still small problems
holding them back. There was a stigma around female scholars and if they were
“capable” to do the work. Even when proven to have a degree and more than
enough knowledge women were still looked at as simple housewives, like
traditional gender roles made them to be.

Elaine El-Khawas
explains the issues still left within the education system. Her publication
“Major American Higher Education Issues and Challenges in the Twenty-first
Century / American Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century: Social,
political and economic challenges” shows the stigmas and problems left behind
from traditional gender roles. She explains how woman are still a minority in
the education system but are allowed for more mobility. “Issues have reshaped
the American education system in recent decades” (El-Khawas 1). This shows how
the traditional gender roles would conform people. While trying to fix the
problems created by traditional gender roles, the system was changed.
Non-traditional gender roles gave women a chance to change the way they are
seen in society. The education system is now build on equality. This equality
is why we see women in higher status jobs, and we can see men choosing to take
a lower status job. Because that job is what they wanted to achieve in their
life. However, with all the new education opportunity’s we may see people with
more economic and money problems. With all the help and support school and
higher education may still be limited to some because of price. However, many
men and women now have the equal opportunity to choose their own path rather
than being told by traditional gender roles.

As great as the
non-traditional gender roles may sound they don’t come without some opposition.
Some people may say that with both parents away it leaves children alone and in
daycares for most of the childhood. This may lead to children having multiple
phycological problems. “Parents Employment and Children’s Wellbeing” by Carolyn
J. Heinrich explains that the wellbeing of children of working parents, are
more likely to do deviate from good. The children are more likely to end up
unsupervised or in child care.

These kids are more
likely to get hurt or injured maybe even killed. There are many inner-city
children who without both parents home so easily can fall into the wrong crowds.
This leads to higher levels of children arrested and hurt in the city. This
also leads to the higher mortality rates in inner cities. “low-income children
whose parents are working are more likely to be placed in
inadequate child care or to go unsupervised” (Heinrich 1). The money the
parents end up making could be beneficial to the child. However, there’s now
way to ensure the child will not deviate.

Some people believe
the specific roles for genders are good. They believe that the people following
traditional gender roles has a specific place in society. Some people need a
specific place in society or they will be lost. Others like the stability it
can create, the women should be home caring and cleaning. While the men go out
and work and come home to discipline. This makes men and women feel like if
they do not reach their goal or achieve to the levels they want, there is
something for people to fall back on. There are many people that without a
feeling of society needing them to complete a specific role will end up,
confused on what they bring to society.

            Other than the children being
affected by the parents work schedules, the parents themselves may get
overloaded. With non-traditional gender roles allowing for both men and woman
to do whatever that may lead to extra stress on a person. They may feel
overloaded with everything society expects from them. Some woman that choose to
work may feel overly stressed to achieve or over achieve the other workers there.
If a man chooses to take a lower status job he may feel he is not fulfilling
the goals set for him by a parent or role model.

            Despite these counter-arguments it
does not make much of a difference in all the good changes created by
non-traditional gender roles. They open multiple opportunities to everyone that
wants to achieve anything they would like. Non-traditional gender roles include
everything traditional roles have, but they add so much more. If someone would
like to be a housewife and stay home, they can still do that in non-traditional
gender roles. A man can still choose to take higher education and work most of
the day, however they can still choose to do anything they want. Traditional
gender roles pushed people into corners and told them they can only do one role
in society.

            Traditional gender roles were
successful and were appropriate for the time they were started. However, its
time to move forward to non-traditional gender roles. The earth is always changing,
and humans are always looking for the next way to move forward in life.
Non-traditional gender roles allow for that. They allow for any man or women to
choose their future. To change the way society looks at them. This fight
against traditional gender roles is far from over. This paper is written to
call out to any people who feel that society should stop oppressing men and
women. That society shouldn’t tell anyone what they are capable of. This paper
should make anyone in support of this cause go out and inform others of the
benefits created for all people with non-traditional gender roles.

Works Cited

Bennett, Jessica. “A Master’s Degree in … Masculinity?” The New York Times, The New York Times,
8 Aug. 2015,

Brookfield, Tarah. “Reshaping Expectations and Emerging
Anxieties: Ideal Womanhood Receives a Makeover in Twentieth Century
America.” Labour, no. 72, 2013, pp. 295-308,7, ABI/INFORM

Cherlin, Andrew J. “American Marriage in the Early
Twenty-First Century.” The Future of Children, vol. 15, no. 2,
2005, Research Library,

Dewitt, Amy L., Cynthia M. Cready, and Rudy R. Seward.
“Parental Role Portrayals in Twentieth Century Children’s Picture Books:
More Egalitarian Or Ongoing Stereotyping?” Sex Roles, vol. 69,
no. 1-2, 2013, pp. 89-106, Research Library,,

Eikhof, Doris R. “A Double-Edged Sword: Twenty-First
Century Workplace Trends and Gender Equality.” Gender in
Management, vol. 27, no. 1, 2012, pp. 7-22, ABI/INFORM Collection;
Research Library,,

El-Khawas, Elaine. “Major American Higher Education
Issues and Challenges in the Twenty-First Century / American Higher Education
in the Twenty-First Century: Social, Political and Economic Challenges.” Studies
in Higher Education, vol. 25, no. 2, 2000, pp. 239, Research Library,

Heinrich, Carolyn J. “Parents’ Employment and Children’s
Wellbeing.” The Future of Children, vol. 24, no. 1, 2014,
Research Library,

McDonald, Isobel. “Women in Management: An Historical
Perspective.” Employee Relations, vol. 26, no. 3, 2004, pp.
307-319, ABI/INFORM Collection,

Plagnol, Anke C., and Jacqueline Scott. “Conference
Report: Gender Inequalities in the Twenty-First Century.” Equal
Opportunities International, vol. 28, no. 8, 2009, pp. 687-692,
ABI/INFORM Collection; Research Library,,

Schofer, Evan, and John W. Meyer. “The Worldwide
Expansion of Higher Education in the Twentieth Century.” American
Sociological Review, vol. 70, no. 6, 2005, pp. 898-920, ABI/INFORM
Collection; Research Library; STEM Database,,