The Changing Role Of Women In Society Argumentative Essay

Published: 2021-06-21 23:38:39
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Category: Workplace, Family, Children, Women, Employment

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Women used to be the weaker sex. This notion about women as the weaker gender is changing gradually as more women join the workforce and occupy jobs that used to be man’s turf. Before, women have always been assigned to complete the menial jobs as men go about their business of earning and working for the family. While there are areas that do not appreciate the new role that women now play in society, there are still some that realize the value of women and their contribution to family and society in general. Differences in cultural beliefs and traditions could be some of the reasons why certain sectors of society still frown at the new roles women now play. As the responsibilities and functions of women change, the more they will experience the freedom they have longed for in the past. Women’s role and duties in society will continue to evolve as they become more independent and experience financial freedom from men.
Evolution of Women in Society
In the past, women have always been considered as second-class to men. While men worked, women were often left at home to care for the house, the children, or work as “mammies” of other children. This was the norm and the accepted lifestyle for both genders. Despite this still occurring in the 21st century, much of the generalizations about women have already changed, especially on the role women play in the family as a homemaker and as breadwinner.
Women now are no longer confined to doing household chores. Before, Black women were often relegated to do the housework, thus, it was difficult to delineate between paid and unpaid work. It was forced upon themselves that they perform household chores such as cooking, dishwashing, doing the laundry, pressing of clothes, and feeding the children, while the men were out working in factories or fields (Dunleavy). Women’s work then were physically exhausting and did not add to a woman’s intelligence whatsoever. While some were paid meager amounts, it was in the understanding that they did most of the chores out of love, and not really to earn a living (Collins, 2000, p. 48). It was already expected that women would get married and have children as the husbands took care of putting food at the table.
This scenario further changed when, during the Second World War, men were forced to fight for their country. As men left the house to fight, the women were left to tend to the family and find means to earn a living. Some women worked in factories or took on other odd jobs. This sense of financial independence lead women to aspire for more, thus, even when the war was over, women stayed on their jobs, while others sought new jobs in search for higher income and position.
Women now have equal voting rights as men. More than hundreds of years ago, women were not even allowed to vote. However, in the twentieth century, protests marked the beginning of change when women were allowed to vote in 1918. Though there were age restrictions on who can vote, it was already a good start as women were given the chance to exercise their rights, especially in 1928 when women in general were given equal voting rights (Salmon). This further enhanced women empowerment as more women’s groups emerged and fought for the rights of women. This somehow lead to more women wanting to assert their rights as women, as evidenced by women such as Mary Livermore, who “began to question whether or not women were actually protected by the patriarchal arrangements of society and the laws that kept married women from owning property, entering into contracts, or keeping their own wages” (“Movement for Women’s Rights”).
After this, women began wanting more for their lives, thus, did not just accept what society dictated as women’s role and standing in society. Education became available to women, which meant more women engaging in work opportunities outside of their homes. This is collaborated upon by Smith (2008), who asserted that one of the huge changes brought about by the increase in women’s employment in “paid work occurred in the second half of the century, nationally and in both rural and urban America” (p. 6). As the number of women in employment grew, the irony is that men’s employment rate steadily declined, which accounts for a narrowed down gender gap in terms of employment between men and women (p. 6). Nowadays, women strive harder to complete their college education, thus, women are more ready to join the workforce than men (Hooper). NY Times supports this idea with a report in 2009 that to help boost the nation’s economy, more than five million jobs were made available to jobseekers. Of the total available jobs, only 30% were actually filled in by women, whereas the rest was allotted to men. Women complete their jobs with high quality, but they still suffer from unfair payment methods (Hooper).
Women have also proven themselves as capable leaders and managers at work. Jobs that were previously dominated by men are not being undertaken by women as they are able to prove their worth in the corporate world. However, despite this strong showing from women, gender discrimination is still very much apparent as studies reveal that according to a “Harvard Business Review blog [only] 6 percent of women [are being considered] as a potential partner at a Wall Street firm, versus 14 percent of men” (Hooper).
Women are more independent now not only in terms of employment, but how they view relationships as well. Women no longer tolerate being in abusive relationships, thus, divorce rates have also steadily increased as marriages in America usually end up in divorce. Single-parent households run by women have doubled from the 1970-1980s censuses, and it appears that more of these family arrangements are headed by women (Dunleavy).
Are these changes significant? The answer is “Yes”. Women have struggled and asserted their rights from the beginning and now that they are reaping the rewards of their efforts, there is no turning back as more women emulate other strong women in their fight to claim a place in society. There may be other forms of struggle that women will experience, but as women are generally treated equally, women are expected to reach more heights in their careers and personal lives. There are still women who opt to stay at home and take care of the household and the children, but the good thing is now, it is a choice, and not according to the dictates of society.
Collins, P. H. (2000). Black Feminist Thought – Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. [pdf].
Dunleavy, M. (1982). How Changing Sex Roles Have Affected the Family Unit in the United States. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 4 November 2013]
Hooper, L. (2013). Women in the Workforce: Where Does the Gender Gap Stand. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 4 November 2013]
“Movement for Women’s Rights.” (n.d.). Available at: [Accessed 4 November 2013]
Salmon, M. (n.d.). The Legal Status of Women, 1776-1830. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 November 2013]
Smith, K. (2008). Working Hard for the Money: Trends in Women’s Employment 1970 to 2000. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 3 November 2013]

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