Today, something like 60% of households are headed by women. This means a lot of women are raising children either on their own, or are the main breadwinners for their families. Long gone are the days when we assumed it was the men who went out and “earned the bacon” while women stayed home and took care of the children and household. However, if we really look at historical evidence, very few women lived in a situation in which they were able to stay home and raise their children.
The rise of the middle class in the 20th century, saw many women were able to stay home, raise their children and be housewives. However, women of lower socioeconomic status rarely enjoyed this benefit. These women—poor women and women of color—were often tasked with having to work a variety of jobs such as cleaning homes and caring for other peoples’ children in order to make ends meet. The working woman is nothing new, yet the opportunity for the types of jobs women have today is relatively new. Today women are rising the ranks in corporate offices, opening their own businesses at higher rates than our male counterparts, and still a strong majority of the “helper” professions, such as teaching, nursing, and social work. But are women getting the respect we deserve?
There are a number of studies that have come out, that show while women are working just a much, if not more, than men, when it comes to domestic responsibilities, they often fall on our shoulders. We are still expected to be the primary caretakers of the children, cook, clean, and take care of the number of other responsibilities that come along with running a home. Is this fair? To many, it seems as if this is not fair to women. Our grandparents’ way of life is no longer an option for many of us. Many homes have to have two incomes in order to comfortably survive. If women are expected to work to help support our families and shoulder all the domestic responsibility, it stands to reason we are not receiving the respect we deserve.
Women have fought hard to have equal access to education and employment opportunities. The fight continues even today, especially when you look at inequities in pay and fields such as science and technology. For generations, we have been expected to take care of domestic chores, while the men brought home the bacon. Things are different today and in a world where women make up nearly 50% of the employment rate, it is time we get the respect we deserve, both in the workforce and at home.