Gender Roles in American Households

Topics: African American, Gender role, White American Pages: 7 (2480 words) Published: November 6, 2011
The social phenomenon of changing gender roles in American households is explored in this paper. Are men and women sharing more equally in assuming household responsibilities? Do women still bear the majority of the responsibility? How do race, age, and cultural influence play a role in the division of labor in the household? I have done research on the change in gender roles among people of different ages, genders, and race. Data was collected to see if there is a difference in change between races, if there is a significant change in roles between generations, and if men and women view the change the same or differently. To gain the data I used surveying and interviewing as my research methodologies. These methods were used as they were the most practical ways to obtain enough information needed to form conclusions. Caucasian, Asian, and African Americans of both genders and diverse ages were surveyed and interviewed. I feel my research will show that with each generation, as more women entered the work force, the households of all races have undergone significant change in which women and men are sharing both work and domestic duties more equitably. That being said, the distribution of domestic chores does contribute to household stratification of gender roles. Both currently and historically race plays a role in that stratification.

Gender role research is socially relevant because each individual in a household is impacted by it. Gender roles in the household can be a factor in whether a marriage is happy and successful. They also influence decision making in the family and parent and child relationships. Researchers could use my data to delve deeper into the impact of gender roles in different types of households. Since everyone grows up in some type of household setting, the research could have far reaching implications for most of the population.

The first research method I choose to collect data is the survey. Using a survey to collect data allowed me to reach a large number of people. Family and friends helped in distributing and collecting the surveys. My parents work at a hospital, my Aunt is a teacher, and my friend attends a large university. That allowed me to reach the age groups, genders, and races I needed in order to collect enough data. Included in my survey were both questions about today and about the past. In addition, using a survey allowed me to ask questions that were not opened ended and could easily be converted to statistical data. In the end, I had responses from a minimum of fifteen respondents in each of eighteen categories. The categories are Caucasian females ages 19-30, Caucasian males ages 19-30, Caucasian females ages 31-49, Caucasian males ages 31-49, Caucasian females ages 50 and above, Caucasian males age 50 and above, and the same for both African Americans and Asian Americans. Because of the large number of groups I needed to collect data on, I felt 15 individuals per category would be a large enough number to get a representative sample. I looked at the responses and felt I had a good sample. Had that not been the case, I would have handed out more surveys. Included in the survey were questions on the household the person grew up in and questions about their household today. For example, respondents were asked if they were raised in a two parent home. This is a question I checked the responses to when I determined if I had collected enough surveys. It was necessary to have enough positive answers to this question since gender roles is the issue I am looking at. Also on the survey were questions asking your race and age, who you were raised by, if your mother worked outside the home, percentage of division of household chores, and whether the perceived change in gender roles is positive. I did not have any problems with the survey itself. The only difficulty was finding fifteen respondents for a few of the categories.

The second research methodology I used was the interview....

References: Blee, Kathleen and Ann Tickamyer. 1995. “Racial Differences in Men’s Attitudes about Women’s Gender Roles.” In Journal of Marriage and Family. Vol. 57, pps 21-30
Carter, J. Scott and Mamadi Corra. 2009. “The Interaction of Race and Gender: Changing
Gender Role Attitudes, 1974-2006.” In Social Science Quarterly. Vol.90, pps 196-211
Kane, Emily. 2000. “Racial and Ethnic Variations in Gender-Related Attitudes.” In Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 26, pps 419-436
Lee, Sandra and Stephanie Pituc. 2007. “Asian Women and Work-Family Issues.” In Sloan Work and Family Research Encyclopedia. pps 1-6
Trask, Bahira. 2006. “Traditional Gender Roles.” In Sloan Work and Family Research Encyclopedia. pps 1-5
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