How Do Traditional Gender Roles Affect Women of Today?

Alex Jensen, Staff Writer

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From rallies and protests to targeted legislation, women have gained positions that could never have been acquired decades ago. The number of women active in the workforce has increased tremendously but, the societal standards of their role in traditional society has translated into their work in modern society.

Traditional roles of women are often related to their general attitude. Expectations like these stem from standards similar to those of 1950s America. A woman’s value was seen in her ability to raise children and maintain her household. These women were very limited in their vocational opportunities.

Marie Senescall, ‘19,  a leader of feminist club in Minnetonka High School, has a deep understanding of women in society. When asked about women in the workplace, she believes society still has a “historically male-dominated” workforce, leaving women to grapple with “discrimination and stereotyping.” She also acknowledges the issue regarding physical harassment and gender wage gaps. These claims are supported by countless studies and testimonials from women around the world.  She also believes women “face double standards regarding emotional displays…[such as] anger or sadness/crying, often seen as an expression of passion or sincerity in men and as socially inappropriate outbursts in women.”

Regarding schools, she argues that students are subjected to similar standards within the workforce in regards to female attitudes and “harmful expectations of masculinity.”

However, Senescall states she doesn’t fear being “too emotional” due to her awareness of these standards and the power they have over others which is truly nonexistent.

Marla Duniggan is a lead production specialist at General Mills. She states that her team has developed from a group with more men, five years ago, to a group with more women today. She was asked if her workplace persona has changed with the involvement of more female workers. She notes that she never recognized the change in the moment; however, she says she feels more open to speak about her home life in the office with her team, which may be due to the increased amount of female coworkers.

Although progress has definitely been made, traditional gender roles still persist today in the workplace. Emotional standards still ring in the ears of each female employee who has suppressed their legitimate concerns in fear of ridicule. Assemblies, workplace education, open attitudes in all employees are all necessary. Progressing forward starts from within and with the disintegration of generalized and discriminatory expectations towards others.

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