Gender Roles

1950's & Today

Jobs

Men


1950's

Factory work allowed poor families to earn decent living. Jobs tended to be agricultural, industrial, or blue-collar. Such as mechanics, plumbers, bus drivers, warehouse workers, and road construction workers. Men usually joined a company in early adulthood and stayed until retirement. Company loyalty was important to employers and hard workers were rewarded with better paying positions.

Today

Men today work similar service jobs as in the past. Job-hopping is normally done until a good paying position is secured. Computers and technology have advanced jobs and created a more diverse workforce. Robots and programs can accomplish tasks faster than men could.

Women

1950's

Women in the 1950’s did not have many opportunities in terms of jobs. Women would have jobs such as a teacher, a secretary, a clerk or cashier, or a nurse. These were the type of jobs that men did not want to fill, so the women took the jobs instead. Women would take these jobs in order to support their family or themselves. Few women were able to take a jobs in management at 6% and 12% took a profession while the majority took a clerical or assembly line jobs at 70%.

Today

Now a days women are able to work almost any jobs they want to. Society became more accepting to the idea of women working professional jobs and now women going to college has increased 34%. Women can work as welders or a mechanic, just like men do. Women are able to work along side with men in almost all professions and are able to take on more important job roles.

TV Shows

Men

1950's

Men in the 1950’s were almost always portrayed in a very rigid and strict way. In television shows in the 1950’s men were showed as someone who wakes up early in the morning and goes to work. The men were then to be expected to come home and be a great father figure to their children and great husband to their wife.


Today

Men are portrayed very differently in current television shows than 1950 shows. Before, men would only be the married working type in the 50’s television shows, but now men take on a multitude of roles in television shows such as a stay-at-home dad or not portrayed as the typical working man. Recently, even men’s sexuality has become more accepted in television shows where main characters are gay. Overall, men are shown as more emotional characters.

Women

1950's

Women were hardly shown working in early TV shows. They were considered full time housewives and often seen preparing meals or cleaning. TV shows like I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners made staying at home normal for women. However, if a woman onscreen had a job, it was almost always one listed above. Women were also regularly devalued on film. This is from the push to promote masculinity.

Today

Women take on more diverse roles on screen. They are commonly shown as single and/or working mothers. Shows like Judging Amy example the differences between then and now. We see women take on new roles and challenge social behavior for serious and comedic reasons.

Family Life

Men

1950's

The 1950’s family life would shock some current day families on how different they are. Families in the 1950’s would consist of a two parent household that includes a fatherly figure who would be the money maker and supporter of the household. The children would be well behaved and polite.

Today

Family life is more free when it comes to roles each family member takes. In current day it is now typical for both family members to have jobs and work. Also, it is more common to have one parent households than in previous years. Parents also have freedom to pursue new careers (mainly women) who can go back to college or a different learning course that can lead to new job opportunities.

Women

1950's

Women were expected to listen to each family member's problems and provide support. They handled many of the family's emotions and behind the scenes housework. Almost all women were married and hardly divorced. The wife would be the stay at home mom who would ensure the house is clean, meals are cooked, and kids are taken care of.

Today

There is much more overlap in the duties of women in families. They are typically more independent and usually have their own jobs. It is more common to see single mothers or a single woman in general. The housework is shared between parents and sometimes kids.

1950s vs. 2000s - A Comparison of Gender Roles, Family Life, and Social Life