Changing attitudes towards women
We know that attitudes towards many different things have shifted and changed over centuries of the human race have lived on this spinning clump of dirt that we call home. Sometimes we improve, sometimes we regress, but one thing that is consistent is that it is always changing. I wanted to take a deeper dive into the history of one of these areas in particular; Women.
More and more women are entering the workplace now than at any time in the last twenty years. Although it is difficult to determine when most women were in the workplace, this is a good sign for the empowerment of modern women. After both the first and second waves of modern feminism, the stereotype of women is beginning to break down more and more. The more people who fight for equality, the better things will get. And with the stigma of women working falling away, it leaves room for more freedom to change the roles in other areas of society. For example, while before, women would have been responsible for their children, men are have begun in the last one-hundred to fifty years ago, to take a more active role in caring for their children, with the emergence of female breadwinners. This is not to say that this is widely accepted. Even in families where the women are the breadwinner, the men and women within the household are reluctant to call them that.
In 1911, less than twenty per cent of married women were part of the labour force. Although this statistic originally astounded me, after consideration of the time period, it seemed less appalling. Although the first wave of feminism started over sixty years before the event of this study being conducted, it didn’t end until 1940. This was likely assisted by the crucial role that women played in the first world war, in filling the gaps that were left behind by the men. Women working became a necessity for the continued functioning of the society that the soldiers had left behind. It is no surprise that in 2001 when the study was conducted again, roughly sixty-four per cent of married women were now in the labour force, overshadowing even single women.
Going back even further, we can look at so many different worldwide cultures, just to try and find where sexism began, although, from all my research, there is no definitive start. Some researches suggested that it started somewhere around 12,000 years ago when the hunter-gatherer tribes began to settle down in one specific area. This meant that it became less about negotiation with the other tribes and more about protecting their own settlements. While, as leaders, the women were strong negotiators and easily connected with other leaders, as guardians, they weren’t as strong as the men. This meant the women in the tribes likely fell out of power, being replaced.
So although we have no idea where or why sexism came in to fruition, it is a tradition that is not beneficial for us to pass on to our children, grandchildren or greatgrandchildren. Lack of equal rights among the genders is slowly going out of fashion. It is finally coming time for us to be more equal than ever.