Gender Roles in the United States

Decent Essays

Throughout history, women have been regarded as of lesser value than men particularly in the public sphere. This is the result of gender stratification. Gender stratification refers to the issue of sexism, “or the belief that one sex is superior to the other” (Carl et al., 2012, p. 78). The theory that men are superior to women is essential to sexism. Sexism has always had negative consequences for women. It has caused some women to avoid pursuing successful careers typically described as “masculine”—perhaps to avoid the social impression that they are less desirable as spouses or mothers, or even less “feminine.”

The public sphere is known as the area of production and includes everything outside the home; education, politics, medicine, media, trades etc. It is men who tend to be located in this sphere. The private sphere is known as the area of reproduction and includes everything domestic; washing, ironing, buying food, cooking, house maintenance, childcare etc. It is women who tend to be located in the sphere.

Whereas in recent decades major strides toward gender equality have been made, sociologists are quick to point out that much remains to be done if inequalities in the United States are ever to be eliminated. Behind much of the inequalities seen in education, the workplace, and politics is sexism, or prejudice and discrimination because of gender. Fundamental to sexism is the assumption that men are superior to women.

Social and cultural conditioning

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