Despite all the past struggles of our ancestors to reach equality, there is only a fake sense of it. After the turn of the century people expected to have a peaceful balance between everyone despite all the differences. However, gender roles in society- along with men’s genetic makeup and economic power- suggest that men are superior over women. Even now, humans allow societal created gender roles that dictate their fate.
Our society, although technology progressed, has not changed much in the aspect of gender being the main source of power. The forcing of such views has hindered, or interfered, with a woman’s path to gaining social or economic power such as becoming a CEO or the President since both are male predominated. Men have a general advantage due to the societal structure, which enables them to reach higher paying jobs and positions. According to Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics By Raewyn W. Connell In Australia,… men hold 86 percent of the jobs as administrators, executives and managers but only 28 percent of clerical jobs…[Page 10] This gives evidence that men have higher status jobs than lower ones, which gives them more economic power. Another point connell made was [Women] work mainly outside the cash economy, in housework, child rearing, subsistence agriculture, or labour for a husband or father…[Page 10]. The gender role society has created burdens women with the task of taking care of the housework or children, which hinders their ability to work a full time job. This is one of many reasons why women cannot overcome the social structure of the economy and achieve equal economic or social power as men. In the rare occurrence that women do overcome these obstacles and go into professions suited for men, they are ostracized or even harassed claims Dr. Ruth Simpsons in ‘Masculinity at Work: Experiences if Men in Female Dominated Occupations’. These incidents further discourage women to pursue these type of jobs that society deemed strictly for men.
One may argue women lead in other professions, but they are mostly trivial positions such as nurses or teachers. Connell states, in the United States …, 97 percent of registered nurses and 94 percent of elementary teachers within this group were women[Page 10] These positions don’t hold much economic power as lets say a CEO, which are mostly men. Society has labeled these jobs as feminine, and its rare seeing men in these positions. Usually if a male goes into the field of education, they tend to be coaches or Principles. Nursing also has a similar view in terms of feminist as teaching since it holds a sense of nurturing or care taking. In an Article written by Karrie Ann Snyder, they show that males who do enter nursing, tend to gravitate toward areas they perceive to be more masculine. The stereotype given to these jobs supports the idea that society labels lesser status jobs for women, while higher paying jobs or positions are mostly reserved for males.
The ideology of men being the superior gender is not only supported by the gender roles society created, but also their genetic makeup. According to some therosist, men bore a natural masculinity which developed during evolution. In another work by Robert W. Connell, she states Heavy manual work calls for strength, endurance, a degree of insensitivity and toughness, and group solidarity. Emphasizing the masculinity of industrial labour has been both a means of survival, in exploitative class relations, and a means of asserting superiority over women Since men are genetically stronger than women, they use this to their advantage and try to dominate women. The biology of men give them a natural sense of masculinity in which they incompase into their work and life since the feel a need to be the provider or the authoritative figure both at home or at work. Connell also says others claim that current social arrangements are an outgrowth of the endocrine system: for instance, that patriarchy is based in a hormonal ‘aggression advantage’ which men hold over women.[Page 47] This genetic component reinforces men’s thoughts of women being inferior to them, therefor society created gender roles in favor of men.
The centering concepts of masculinity and femininity in gender roles may be common throughout cultures. Males have been given a sense of authority by social roles, which disables women to be viewed as equal. The mindset that women are inferior to men can be traced back into our childhood and history. These unchanging socially created roles have limited the growth of our society due to them controlling important aspects of our lives.
Chapter 2 Men’s Body. Masculinities, by Raewyn Connell, 2nd ed., Polity, 2016, pp. 45-56.
Connell, Raewyn. Gender and Power: Society, the Person and Sexual Politics. Stanford Univ. Press, 2004.
Simp, Ruth. Masculinity at Work: The Experiences of Men in Female Dominated Occupations. Work Employment and Society, vol. 18, Brunel University, 2004, pp. 2-15.
Karrie Ann Snyder, Adam Isaiah Green; Revisiting the Glass Escalator: The Case of Gender Segregation in a Female Dominated Occupation, Social Problems, vol. 55, Issue 2, 1 May 2008, pp. 271“299.