Generation Y want to wind back the clock on gender roles 1



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A recent study, published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, has found that there is an increased desire among females in Generation Y to stay at home, compared to the generations before them.

After witnessing many of my friends trying to ‘do it all’ I have to say I don’t entirely disagree them. Although women have fought hard to the right to study, work and raise children, there comes a point when most realise, you can’t really ‘do it all’ they way you want it done.

However, it is puzzling how young women in 2016 would rather be at home, when the opportunities for education and climbing the corporate ladder are so great.

Researchers in the study have suggested the shift in attitudes may be due to Generation Y witnessing their mothers attempting to work and raise a family. They suggest that gender roles are formed in childhood and seeing their own mothers struggle to work as well as be a mother and wife, has resulted in more younger women wanting to stay at home.

I agree with this and think this has made a big impact on my view of gender roles. For most of my life I was raised by a single, working mother who tried her darnedest every day to put a smile on our faces and send us to school with a packed lunch. She was a shift worker and would often come home from work in the wee hours of the morning and still have to get us all up and ready for school, squeeze in a nap and then be back to pick us up and do it all again.

Not only was this hard for her but it was hard for us as well. I now see my friends children forming incredibly bonds with their mum because she is always there, not only when they need her but also when they don’t know they do.

While some psychologists agree that the swing back to traditional roles is a result of millennial upbringings, others argue that staying at home is seen as a retreat from the tough working life.

Dr Margaret Henderson, author of Marking Feminist Times, says, “We bring girls up saying that they can do anything with their lives, and then they go to university and get a job and find out the workplace is tough… The home is becoming this haven from a bad, tough old world.”

Although I can see how staying at home might sound more appealing, I also see how much my friend does in a day and let me tell you she barely has time to sit down for a cup of tea!

Eva Cox, feminist and sociologist, argues that the want to stay home is a result of workplaces failing to accommodate the needs of women juggling careers and children.

“Changes to workplaces have not really made it easier for women to manage both over the last 20 years,” she says.

After witnessing my other friends try to juggle careers and children I wholeheartedly agree with this. Although some companies are fantastic and understanding, I see many of my friends missing important milestones and running themselves into the ground because they are too afraid to ask for time off.

What do you think? Should women be trying to do it all, or should we go back to traditional gender roles?


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  1. Women shouldn’t have to “do it all”…. where are the men in this equation?
    By all means if couples can afford for one person to stay home full time then that is their choice and personal to them.
    Let’s NOT make it an “us and them” issue.
    In some cases dad’s stay home full time and that works for the family.
    We need to support couples and families to make choices that gives them a win win situation.
    Unfortunately the current economic situation is that in the majority of cases it takes 2 incomes to make ends meet, so couples have to be flexible.
    It does not just rest with women to mhave to “do it all” unless they allow it.
    Men need to step up to take on equal responsibility re family commitments.
    My 2 adult sons are very much hands on dads refusing the old stereotype “dad works only while mum stays at home or juggles working and household duties. They change the nappies etc and take the children to after school activities – no different from the mum’s. They even take time off from work if a child is ill and needs caring for.
    I recently have travelled interstate to 3 different states and more often than not saw the dads taking on equal family household roles. From what l can see most men want to be active in their children’s lives having a positive male influence on their development which l have seen 1st hand has enormous benefits not only for the children but for their partners which makes for a “happy family with good couple interaction”.

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