How different from a generation ago are gender roles in America, really? I’m not sure. Relations between men and women inside the home are hugely affected by changes in society and culture outside the home. Also, the homes themselves are changing. Many couples no longer get married, especially lower-income Americans. I believe over 40% of children are now raised by single parents. Within couples, women often have more relative education and income than they used to. A more egalitarian marriage/partnership is the norm in many places, as is encouraging less rigidly divided gender roles in childrearing. But, traditional marriage is not dead. In fact, it is still the ideal in many parts of the country, despite the fact that our economy and culture make a one earner family and traditional gender roles difficult to sustain.
By gender roles, I have in mind the relationship between men and women in (1) marriages/relationships, (2) childrearing, and (3) on the job and in the broader culture. I don’t know much about this whole thing, outside of personal experience. But, here are a few good (I think) articles on changing American gender roles. I’ll open with something brief on Monday night to get us on track, and then I want to hear what you think and what your experiences with yourselves and your kids has been.
Men, Women, and the New Economics of Marriage. [Update: Not worth reading. Try this view of marital gender roles by a doctor.]
- Who makes the decisions and who has the power at home and on the job? Pew again.
- The End of Men, an instantly-famous Atlantic Monthly cover story from 2010.
- Red Families Versus Blue Families (the sharp contrast between the egalitarian and traditional marriage models in the U.S.)
- Do men and women think differently? We talked about that, once.
- Long, optional policy-oriented read: Do we need a new social contract that does more to help modern families?
NEXT WEEK: Wait – Are we too pessimistic about our future?