Traditional Gender Roles


  • Bahira Sherif Trask

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2006


  • Changing Families
  • Gender
  • Roles
  • Work and Family


  • Education


Recent studies indicate that the majority of younger Americans believe in egalitarian relationships between men and women in marriage. These same studies show that many marriages today begin with an equal sharing of household and financial tasks (Gerson, 2002). However, research also illustrates that traditional gender roles, specifically reflected in the division of labor in families, remain ingrained in practice and ideology (Belsky & Kelly, 1994; Erickson, 2005; Thompson, 1993). This adherence to traditional gender norms is particularly prominent among white middle class families. According to a wide variety of studies (Belsky & Kelly, 1994; Hochschild, 1989; Hochschild, 1997; Perry-Jenkins, 1994; Thompson, 1993; Thornton & Young-DeMarco, 2001; Gerstel & Sarkisian, 2006) women, especially after the birth of the first child, continue to perform most of the housework and caregiving in their families despite working outside of the home in record numbers. Men, on the other hand, continue to define their primary role as economic providers for their families. More recently this division of labor has been referred to as a “neotraditonal” arrangement wherein men perform most but not all paid work, and women perform most but not all unpaid work (Moen & Roehling 2005). This discrepancy between stated beliefs and actual practice raises many questions about how conceptualizations of gender roles intersect with work and family issues in American society.

Link:Traditional_Gender_Roles encyclopedia