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Gender Role Analysis

2331 words - 10 pages

Gender Role Analysis

The roles of gender in today’s society vary according to history, one’s personal biases, environment, and society’s input in education, government, and the workplace. History has shown that gender roles have made great strides of accomplishments in roles that were once very similar in each area of life; particularly the role of females in that they were considered to be the property of men and played the role of the helpmeet, which was a biblical term that was taken to what is considered extreme in today’s U.S. culture. Through various social movements throughout history gender roles have changed greatly. Those changes that were affected by such social movements ...view middle of the document...

Though there have been numerous additional social movements that have shaped gender roles in this nation from waves of feminism, the sexual revolution, and the civil rights movement, the one social movement that has helped shatter the gender role of women has been the second-class status of women. Prior to 1965, all of the social movements were still very limited on gaining ground in maintaining equal class status for women. President John F. Kennedy began the Commission on the Status of Women, in which the “commission documented discriminatory practices in government, education, and employment and included recommendations for reform” (Gender Speak, p. 9). Out of this movement, the Equal Pay Act was passed by Congress in 1963.

How Gender is shaped by Education

Historically, education was initially taught in the home and passed down from parents to children. Formal education was generally reserved for the wealthy and did not really begin until 1840’s when free public schools were founded. When women did receive any type of formal teaching, it was for the purpose of teaching her children, and the topics were very limited. It was even considered dangerous for women to have an education until the 20th century. Fortunately, today women have the same opportunities as men in education.
Gender has been shaped by education in several ways. Initially, gender was shaped through the early views that males were superior because they were the only people allowed to receive an education, thus one perception that males were first class citizens and females second-class was created. Historically, even textbooks that were first introduced implied both men and women’s roles in society and setting the stage for society’s norms. In 1899, the term home economics was first used while creating a first of its kind curriculum that was developed for females and offered “students who chose home economics as a field of study would not only be better prepared homemaking, but also for career placement in education, the food industry, textiles, hotel and restaurant management, and even non-profit organizations” (University of Michigan, 2011, ¶ 3). Early education taught and implied that females were to have limited education and career roles that primarily centered on homemaking.

Fortunately, education no longer restricts the learning opportunities for females in this day and age. However, when history is taught it is still taught from a male perspective by highlighting only what men have accomplished in history with little or no reflection of women’s contribution to history. Much of the literary world still reflects the male insight and thought in that not only do “students learn just only about men and their experiences and perspectives, but they [are] deprived of learning about women and their experiences and contributions to the world” (Moments, 2009, ¶20).

Throughout this nation’s changing history, education is no longer limited to males only and through...

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