According to age old gender stereotypes, men were expected to go out, work, and bring home the bread. Women were expected to cook the bread, clean the house, and monitor the children. Slowly, with time, this stereotype has changed for the better. However, there is a long way to go.
Traditionally, women were the keepers of the home and hearth. With time, many women started stepping out of the house to earn a living. In some households, men chipped in their bit in running the home. They would help their wives in cooking, and other activities. But in most households, women would take care of their housework over and above their jobs. With the advent of the twentieth century, there was more awareness on the equality of both spouses.
With the feminist movement gaining popularity, more and more men became aware of their wives’ problems in juggling work and home. Husbands started working with their wives in maintaining the home. They were chipping in to cook, do the laundry, feed the baby, and change diapers. Apart from this, in today’s economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a household with only one income.
Studies have shown that the time men spend with their children is almost equal to the time their wives spend with children, a huge increase since the ‘70s. A research study indicated that the number of men, who thought that women have the stereotyped role of child rearing, has dropped significantly over the past thirty years or so.
In the past twenty years or so, a new healthy trend of men taking care of the household has emerged. Men are choosing to be stay at home dads, and take care of the children and the household, while their wives or partners step out of the house to earn. In many of these households, the women are the sole breadwinners. This is a trend to be encouraged. It helps break stereotypes that define the roles of the genders. Had this scene unfolded in the ‘80s or the ‘90s, the men would have been criticized for being effeminate or soft. However, today society views this change with less prejudice. This change has to echo world over, so that men who wish to pursue their artistic endeavors, or want to spend more time with their children, and are opting for home based jobs can do so without a second thought. Of course, this has to be after discussions with and consent of their partners.
The foundation has to be laid at childhood itself. Little boys should be encouraged to play with dolls, and girls should be encouraged to play with trucks and robots. Boys should be sensitized to treat women with respect, and consideration. While most men today share in the household chores, there are many who simply do not even lift their finger at home. Men need to be educated on the fact that all responsibilities are to be shared, and that women should not have to work round the clock. Men should also be encouraged to take time out for their family, and child rearing.
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