The traditional woman in United States of America as in many other parts of the world was considered a home maker and to some extent inferior to men with the male chauvinistic imposition of society. This was irrespective of race. Twenty first century socioeconomic influences have forced women out of the home to provide financially for themselves and offspring since it became evident that patriarchy is non existent in the presence of a male invisibility complex griping the nation (Johnson, 2006). As such, structure and function of women within the family has somewhat been altered.
Research has shown where a typical traditional American woman in 1965 spent 27 hours per week being a housewife. Twenty-first century evolution shows that there have been significant changes since women have entered the labor market and are eligible for equal pay. They actually spend a mere 10 hours per week in the home as a housewife. (Rosen, 2006). According to Johnson (2006), ‘they appear to be much better off than males,’ (Johnson, 2006, p 530).
It is clear then, that family structure and function have evolved immensely being influenced by the added responsibilities of women in society. Statistics have validated that the number of single parent families headed by mothers has increased tremendously. Between 1900- 2010 single parent families in the American culture has tripled. 75% are headed by women (Benokraitis, 2007).
Further studies have revealed that emerging alongside single parent family headed by women is the step-parent. Precise figures are that 1,300 step families are forming in America daily. It is believed that with high divorce rates; women do not feel obligated to remain in toxic relationships. They have become financially capable of removing themselves and beginning again.75% of divorcees remarry (Stewart, 2007).
Essentially, the concept of ‘breadwinner” within the American family structure being men has drastically been renamed “breadloosers’ in respect to men carrying out the role of provider. More importantly, it has been reported that in 2001 1/3 of working wives earned more than their husbands. Subtly the financial responsibility for family shifted towards women as ‘breadwinners’ in the event of husband ‘breadloosers’ (Rosen, 2006).
Another relevant factor regarding how the changing roles of women have affected the American family is that it appears to have leveled the playing field in terms respect for women with the family structure. The concepts ‘woman,’ ‘mother’ and wife. These roles take on a new meaning within the home. Besides these three major roles she still has to gel out the home, go to school become qualified, find a job and be a breadwinner.
Alternative it encourages our men to lay back and enjoy the ride. Seriously it means that men as fathers, head of families, husbands, and providers have significance within the family. Therefore, men who find themselves in such a predicament tend to become abusive to their women in the family due an inferiority produced by this co-dependence. It is a psychological defense mechanism to hide the truth of their subdued masculinity in a female dominated family structure (Johnson, 2006).
The foregoing paragraphs highlight the impact of changing roles of women within the American family. These changes have accounted for structural and role adjustments. Also, there are modern interpretations of family with emerging adaptations of step-and single parents developments.
Benokraitis, N. Marriages & families (6th edition). New York: Prentice Hall. (2007). Print
Johnson Allan. The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal legacy.
Temple Press. Philadelphia. (2006). Print
Rosen, Ruth. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed
America. Penguin: New York (2006) Print
Stewart, S.D. Brave New Stepfamilies. Sage: Thousand Oaks (.2007). Print