Gender, employment, education and social class interact in a complex way. These interactions have positively influenced structural positions conditions for both men and women. In education, the shift in gender roles has witnessed a tremendous transformation where virtually every curriculum has both men and women’s studies program. In employment, gender roles have shifted to shape equal opportunities and wages received by both men and women. In the social class, shifts in gender roles have combined both a structural perspective that focus on the objective social positions and conditions of men and women. Social class, in the last fifteen years, has taken a psychological perspective that emphasizes the actual experiences and reactions in each of the different social domains. In this context, the last one and half decade have certainly shown the recognition of change in gender roles. This how the gender roles have shifted in education, employment, and social class over the last 15 years, eventually promising the right to equal access and opportunity in education, employment and social class.
Gender Gaps in Graphical Format
Gender roles entail putting in place the social and institutional arrangements that would secure peoples’ freedom in education, employment and social class. An education system will be lacking important dimensions of equality if it was discriminatory or did not develop capabilities in children to achieve an education and employment, which is personally and socially attuned to developing freedoms (Aikman & Unterhalter 3).
The graph (Benoy) below indicates that improving gender equity to education, employment and social class has the greatest impact in the national development. The graph further illustrates that educated girls have more choices in marriage, in childbearing, in work, and in social life. They can seize more economic opportunities and they do more to shape their society-s political, social, economic and environmental progress.
Studies indicate that girls have moved into positions of power and prominence as a result of their educational skills. While not all boys are doomed to careers as frat house party animals, it is self-evident that girls fill more of the challenging and desirable positions in the workforce, the opportunities and positions open to men will shrink (Kindlon 149). Looking forward into the future, it is notable that there are significant trends. The first is the dominance of women in higher education. Kindlon says that in 2005 about 59% of undergraduate degrees were granted to women (150).
While in his story, “The Descent of Men”, Kindlon mentions that women traditionally were dependent on their husbands for financial support, therefore, he asserts that with the current trends in higher education, it is expected that men are going to have to share or relinquish some of their power, because their wives will control proverbial purse strings (154). Studies indicate that domestic duties are one of the few remaining areas in which men’s physical strength is an advantage.
In the education system, the majority of boys are aware that they are in the company of a new generation of high achieving empowered females. Kindlon says that with girls on the ascent, educators and policy makers have begun to worry about boys (162). Education, wealth and social status are some of the areas where men are in the decline. For thousands of years, people were conditioned to believe that only men could provide for the family and hold positions of power and only a woman could nurture children and run households. Khent notes that nowadays people are observing that both men and women can be caring nurturing, powerful and decisive (5).
It should be noted that the feminine principles of care, respect, patience, loyalty, love, honesty, empathy; moreover, the potential that lies at the core of both men and women must now be recognized in order to restore a balance between mind and intuition, facts and feelings (Khent 6). Both genders possess the feminine and masculine qualities. Female express both qualities through a female body perspective and responses and male express both qualities through male body. Both genders are capable of being focused and goal-oriented or flowing and creative.
Education has played a major role in shifts of gender roles. However, with equal access to education does not mean that women taking over men, but rather both women and men are expressing their full potential and working together in tandem in partnership. Khent says that gender rules have shifted in education over the last fifteen years, because the mature woman who judges herself as powerful, competent, loving and beautiful is prepared to meet men on her own terms as colleagues, competitors or lovers (9). This implies that the ability for women and men to access education continues to grow and transform as the decades pass.
Evidently, gender shifts have transformed the education, where virtually every curriculum has women’s studies program and every university press boasts a women’s studies book list (Kimmel 39). It can be noted that almost half of the labor force is female. The efforts to balance education have seen more women who hold critical positions as leaders in organizations and politics. Pascall, in his studies, noted that “the gender rules shifts have resulted to revolutionary changes triggered by women’s search for autonomy supported through investment in education, with dramatic increase in women’s employment” (22).
The shift in gender rules in employment can be seen in the fact that women in the workplaces have proven that they can be strong, decisive, and excellent leaders while remaining in touch with their caring, and compassionate natures. Khent indicated that women have consistently taken a more visible role in the government, and in such fields as law, medicine, business, religion, sports and national leadership.
In her article, “The Death of Macho”, Salam asserts that the last five decades the world has witnessed a fundamental shift of power from men to women. The world economic crisis has been a mortal blow to macho’s men’s club, called finance capitalism. The 2008-2009 financial crises, according to the article, saw more than 80% of job losses fall on men. These numbers are similar to Europe and especially in the economic sectors, dominated by men than those dominated by women such as healthcare and education.
According to Khent’s article “The Death of Macho”, men, on the other hand, have been integrating feminine qualities at a lower yet steady pace in the Western world. Reiham Salam asserts that the recent recession marked the end of an era of male dominance in employment positions (9). However, he noted that Western developed countries are not trying to preserve the old gender imbalances of the macho order. He further asserts that there is an agreement from behavioral economists to feminist historians that women should start to gain more of the social, economic and political power which they have long been denied. This is seen as nothing less than a full scale revolution, which human civilization has never experienced before (Khent 9).
On the other hand, the transformation of the majority of economies around the world and women’s entry into the education system has combined to provide both opportunity and motive for reevaluation of fatherhood. Kimmel notes that girl’s increased equality has had serious negative consequences for boys (26). In elementary schools research shows that boys get lower grades, lower class rank and fewer honors than girls. Gender stereotyping hurts both boys and girls.
Consequently, on the employment front, studies show that there are substantial and persistent long-term trends increasing the endorsement of gender equality in families. Kimmel indicates that with only modest attitudinal adjustment, most men have acclimated to the dual career couple model that now characterizes most marriages (28). In this context, most men are comfortable with the ethical imperative and see women’s equality in employment as right, just and fair.
Access to employment by women in different areas has changed drastically men’s employment, because of gender shifts. Kimmel, for example, says that in the last eight decades men lived in a world where they could go to all male college, serve in all-male military and spend virtually their entire working lives in all male working environment (40). With the recent shifts in gender roles, this has disappeared. The military today is gender integrated as it is every single workplace in many countries. Salam, in his article “The Death of Macho”, also uses illustrations not only from one society but gives sufficient proof to show that the loss of the power of men is a global reality.
From the article “The Descent of Men”, it can be seen that men have begun to take on a more egalitarian role in household management and child bearing (Kindlon 165). The shift in gender roles in social life has seen women and men to have much exploration and integration ahead of them before they settle into the fullness of their feminine and masculine qualities. This shift has enabled women and men to grow into wholeness, going beyond old roles of power and powerlessness (Kindlon 165).
While scholars argue that the shift in gender roles in social class reflects the radical changes, the society has experienced over the last generation as new laws and social policies have guaranteed to women equal rights and equal opportunities with men. Kindlon mentions that psychology influenced that shift which has been shaped by the ever increasing number of strong female role models for young women including alpha girl’s own mothers (14). The shift owes much to the way a new generation of involved fathers has affected how their daughters think and feel.
Men’s attitudes toward women’s ability to fit in different social classes have shifted in a decidedly positive direction. Kimmel says that in 1977, less than half of men 49% agreed with the statement, “a mother who works outside the home can have just as good relationship with her children as a mother who does not” (39). This implies that women can be in labor force and in every other public arena. Women made visible the gender shift. Kimmel indicates that women have demonstrated the centrality of gender in social class hence in the past two decades gender has joined race and class as the three primordial axes around which social life is organized (39).
Aikman and Unterhalter note that evidence from countries such as United Kingdom, where girls perform as well as boys in examinations, is taken to mean that gender equity has largely been addressed (4). Focus has shifted to the task of widening access to all social classes without attention to gender. Aikman and Unterhalter indicate that gender equality shifts involves more than the achievement of equal numbers in social classes (4). It means a broader meaning of equality, which includes conditions in social life experiences.
Eventually, shifts towards gender rules in social class have been collectively divided and have enhanced social divisions, producing polarization between more highly educated households with two earners and households with none. These gender rules shifts were characterized by women who were fighting for recognition and rights in men’s world. The first shift was on the basis of votes and parliamentary representation, with educational access enabling women to participate in public life with men (Pascall 22).
In conclusion, Cooke says that gender rules in industrial economies remains elusive. It has been noted that gender, social class gaps in education, employment and domestic tasks persist in the twenty first century despite the equal opportunity (1). However, it is important to note that today women often complete the same years in education as men and afterwards get equal salary. The institutional equality frameworks should ensure that states allocate equal employment opportunities among different genders and social groups. Moreover, governments should note that persistent shifts in gender rules will reduce gender career differences. Therefore, labor market regulations should further be shaped in order to enhance equity in paid work. Education policies should shift towards gender rules through its structure and content. The shift of gender rules in education and employment is expected to transform the social class of both male and female or both genders.