The Evolution of Gender Roles and its Role in Society Essay

The Evolution of Gender Roles and its Role in Society Essay

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When thinking of gender roles in society, stereotypes generally come to mind. Throughout history these stereotypes have only proven to be true. Major historical events have had a huge impact on the way men and women are seen and treated. In this way, women have always been secondary to males and seen as the fragile counterparts whose job is to take care of the household and most importantly, be loyal to her husband no matter the circumstance. Gender roles throughout history have greatly influenced society. The slow progress of woman’s rights throughout humanities led to an explosion of woman’s rights throughout the 20th century and that trend will only continue on into the rest of the 21st century.
First, it is important to understand how gender roles first differentiated amongst males and females in prehistoric cultures and the civilizations thereafter. During the Paleolithic period (ca. 6 million to 10,000 B.C.E) the earliest of humankind lived a nomadic way of life (Fiero). Men were hunters. They left their families for entire days to hunt, and if they were lucky, could bring meat back. Essentially, they performed the most strenuous duties because they were stronger, providing more importance in the community (Baruch). Women were the gatherers of the clan. They collected seeds, fruits, nuts, grains and more (Reilly). They took care of their young and were to be protected as they were the child bearers. This represents the first differentiation in gender roles: women at home, and men working. As the Paleolithic society merges into the Neolithic society (ca. 8,000 to 2,000 B.C.E) and hunters and gatherers became settled farmers, women and men began to share a more even workload of maintaining the land (Baruch). The belief in f...


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Reilly, Kevin. "Men and Women, Hunters and Gatherers."West and the World: A History of Civilization. (1989): n. page. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
"The 1960s-70s American Feminist Movement: Breaking Down Barriers For Women." Tavaana Case Study. E-Collaborative for Civic Education. Web. 30 Mar 2014.
"The Plight of Women's Work in the Early Industrial Revolution in England and Wales." Women in World History. Women in World History Curriculum. Web. 30 Mar 2014.
"The Role of Men and Women." Skwirk. Red Apple Education. Web. 29 Mar 2014.
"The Women's Rights Movement, 1848-1920 ." US House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives. United States House of Representatives. Web. 30 Mar 2014.
Toossi, Mitra. "A Century of Change: The US Labor Force, 1950-2050." BLS. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar 2014.
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