The Role of Women

Throughout history, gender responsibility has been relatively important and significant, but now due to the capitalist society we live in they are slowly being done away with. Women have been given a lesser place in society than men for quite a long time. But this perception began changing in the twentieth century when women started to get rights. This however did not lead to society treating them as equal.

Barbara Welter is the author of The Cult of True Womanhood. She is from Canada. Barbra says that, “back in the nineteenth century, a woman’s role in the Canadian Victorian society was necessary. This was because men were always away from home and thus women had to remain at home so to take care of the home. Women had the responsibility of being the child bearers and at the same time breast feeding making them naturally fit the role of being a nurturer. This arose from the society’s perception that since men were physically stronger than women, they should be the providers and the protectors of the family.”  

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Kazuyuki Yamasaki is a Japanese lady who lived in the feudalism era in the 1800’s. Kazuyuki says that, “after a Japanese lady got married in the nineteenth century, she automatically got the lowest class in the entire family. She was now supposed to take care of both her husband and her parents in law. This was caused by the belief of Confucianism from the Japanese religion together with feudalism” (Iwao, 1993).

According to Barbra, “traditionally men played the role of being the providers for the family. They were described as workaholics so as to provide for their families and thus they ended up being left with little time for family. Women were viewed as mothers and their roles were defined as taking care of children, and doing household chores. They were taken to be dependent on their husbands for monetary and physical needs of the family.” She goes on to say that, “the society continuously put men and women separately by labeling them based on physical characteristics. The men were taken to be the stronger sex with women being seen as weak. Society gave a negative thought to women since tiresome jobs fit men who have the image of being masculine, and thus terming women as sensitive”.  

Kazuyuki also adds that, “the young ladies who were employed had less significance at the workplace. Their only duty was to come to work smartly dressed and with an attractive scent in order to liven up the men as they worked. They only worked as tea girls, photocopying documents and also taking care of the work place cleanliness. This was because all of these women were expected to quit their jobs once they got married since they were not to go back to work after marriage. This led to ladies not getting married early or even not marrying” (Iwao, 1993).

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According to Barbra, “women should be able to plan their time so that they lose dome little time at work to take care of their families without quitting their jobs. But with time, women have continuously got the idea that they can actually play a bigger role than what has been associated with them for a long time. Currently the roles of women in education have increased tremendously. More and more women are getting into the education system than men. This has translated to gender demographics in the corporate world changing significantly with an increase of women. Men have for long dominated the workplace but women are being empowered by their own voices and are now demanding their place in the corporate establishments. With a good education, women are being enabled to build on their careers and at the same time take care of the family without necessarily losing their jobs”.

Kazuyuki says that, “in my opinion, the Japanese woman has gained more control within the home as she has been able to be at work. This is because education opportunities have been availed for women since after the World War II. Many men were taken to fight in the war and the women got the advantage of working in the industries. This has led to the acceptance of women in the workplace earning almost fifty percent of what the men bring into the family. A woman is expected to bear her husband children and also bring them up on her own. She is now in charge of the family’s finances and when the husband give her the check, she gives him his money to spend and makes those decisions on how to spend the money that is left” (Iwao, 1993).

Barbra on her thoughts on women’s current roles says that, “women have not yet given up the fight so as to label with equality to men. They ought to be given the power to do whatever they want irrespective of the dominance of the men. Even though there are certain characteristics different for both genders such that they cannot be duplicated, this should not be used to define what roles or jobs each gender should possess. The roles of women in the society have been changing continuously and they are bound to continue changing in the future.”

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Kazuyuki on her part claims that, “the previous trend of women being forced to leave their jobs after getting married is slowly being done away with and women can now be able to concentrate on building a career and at the same time take care of the family. The current generation that is springing up in Japan has different views and attitudes on the roles of men and women in the family. Although more than half of the ladies in Japan are working, the majority of them have positions that are way low than those held by the women. Women should strive to command the same kind of treatment they get at home even at the workplace. Their status in society has changed and it should thus be reflected in the corporate world.”

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