Gender roles are the behavior patterns and mindsets that a society has laid upon its members. Different cultures have different behavior standards and expectations that it has imposed on the members. These play great roles in shaping the life of an individual in terms of thought patterns and values that the person grows to believe in and follow. In most cultures, the members are oriented towards values and roles that have existed and have been used as the basis of operations for generations that have preceded them.
These have aimed to cultivate respect, responsibility and positivity in belief, attitudes as well as excellence in character, performance and adaptation to the world while ensuring that the roles, norms and cultural standards remain unchanged despite changes that may occur. This has however proved to be an impossible target to attain since the world has changed so fast with the globalization trend that has allowed transfer of cultural behavioral trends across the world. This has led to the replacement of certain aspects of traditional culture mostly those that have promoted gender based discrimination and oppression. This has called for redefinition of the roles that are played by the genders and efforts have been geared towards enhancing identity and respect for all genders especially the ones that had previously been sidelined. The need for equality has resulted in adjustments in the socialization of both male and female genders to enhance a proper perspective on their roles (Schaefer & Lamm, 123-54). There has therefore been a notable transformation in the gender roles of both genders right from the family setting, to the schools, workplace and the society in totality.
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Changes in the gender roles in the family
The family is considered significant in the growth and development of an individual person.
It has the basic role in the shaping of the boys' and girls' identity, gender roles and the perception of themselves and the society. One of the areas that the different genders get to understand is their sexuality. Unlike other attributes that one obtains from without, it is developed from within and has the most influence on a person as it affects one's whole life (Schaefer & Lamm, 123-54).
The role of creating and shaping one's perspective of him/herself is with the parents who are considered the first teachers that a person ha. They not only make one to be able to under learn basic skills of life, they also socialize the child into the roles, norms and values that the society upholds and what is expected of them. The way they treat the male and female children and help them to know their differences greatly influences their perception and how they will play the roles that they are made aware of. The normal family tends to honor the male children for their accomplishments as opposed to feminine beauty that girls are praised for (Brady, 380).
The children therefore internalize these roles and observe them as the parents model them in the way they live. They see the success that the father has achieved in defining what masculinity entails masculinity as the mother takes part in physical activities like games and this shapes their thinking of the same even though they may seem misplaced by the society. They can also be negatively affected by the poor modeling by parents who engage in abuse, violence in the family and may manifest these when they become adults as they have regarded this as normal (Kail, & Cavanaugh, 223- 56).
The children are aware of their identity by the age of three and at this stage, they are more influenced by the play sessions with peers where they clearly see the differences between the genders and lifestyles associated with them. Extreme cases have seen the children's choices shaped by the television. These are reinforced by the hindrances that parents have placed on the play forms like tree climbing may be forbidden for girls ton prevent their hurt although in terms of choice of colors they could still share preferences (Hayden, 15).
Outsides the family, exists the other powerful influence of children's growth: the peers. With the assumption that the children have been socialized using similar societal roles, the peer group gives the children the challenge regarding the se expectations that categorizes a child as conforming or deviant of the same depending on the choice of the child. These resulted in taunting or teasing which was geared to giving in or exclusion from play groups. These reactions found their basis on the roles and regulations that are already internalized by the children (Schaefer & Lamm, 123-54). This exposes the children to alternatives that challenge the ideals that they had set from home and these could result in inner struggle to change which may hinder personal development resulting in low esteem and pride and worse still rebellion (Coben, 56).
Gender roles at school
When teachers and school authorities transfer cultural knowledge to the children, they greatly influence them. The children have the belief that the learning atmosphere should be quiet and girls easily adapt as opposed to boys who are cultured to be talkative. This often leads them top trouble as they find it uneasy to meet the expectations due to their brain structure.
Mixed gender schools have not proved effective as research reveals as it causes poor performance. The single gender schools allow the boys who could be sidelined as shy to perform well and girls develop leadership skills.
Differences in brain features also emerge as the females strength is seen in relation to languages and articulation while males orient themselves towards objectivity and accuracy. The boys excel mostly in the sciences and calculations when girls are oriented to neatness and writing areas where they do well (Wedgewood, 62).
The process of growth and the entry into adolescence brings challenges that relate to emotional upheavals and the responsibility that are rising amongst the growing youths. Males have been seen to have the capacity to deal with emotional problems as opposed top their female counterparts who have recorded high suicide rates at this age. Poor development in this area could result in unhealthy relationships through poor choices (Canada, 104).
The roles have changed and the females have the freedom to make personal decisions and are seen to be more empowered to take authoritative stands on the issues that had made them victims over the years. The things that used to define manhood like strength and arrogance no longer holds water as the parents teach their children to solve conflicts without fighting (Kail, & Cavanaugh, 223- 56).
Gender roles at work place.
There are changes that have taken place over the past decades which have seen women dominating the job sector. Coupled with the women liberation and decrease in racial wars, the attitudes and belief systems have changed considerably. The women, who were just meant to met their employers' extra marital affairs and sexual needs have become more trust worthy than their men counterparts whose values have gone down thanks to their brutality and arrogance. The employment scheme has given room for policies that allow family care for women with the maternity and other leaves been incorporated in the employment packages. These have bee adjusted to favor the family.
Women are no longer discriminated at the work place as the law endorses their employment when they qualify for a job. This has marked great changes in the women roles although their role in the family still remains unchanged. With full time employment that some have access to, they will be responsible, for example, when the child is sick and both parents work. In addition today, they are freer to choose their careers as opposed to previous generations. This trend of transformation is set to continue for the coming decades.
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