The evolution of women’s roles is defined by duality: Fragile and strong, easily tempted and temptress, whore and goddess, second-class citizen and world leader. We’re mothers, daughters, sisters, teachers, nurturers, lovers, pioneers, rebels, sex symbols. Most of all, we’re wonderful, powerful mysteries yet to be fully understood. And maybe that’s what makes us so very interesting.
Women have come a long way since first Women’s Day in the United States in 1909, and as data we collected at Queendom from our Gender Roles Test for Women reveals, even if some traditional gender role beliefs remain, modern women are no longer afraid to take a leading role at work, at home, and in the world.
Collecting data from 1,620 women of different ages, we asked thought-provoking and potentially controversial questions that our female sample boldly answered.
When asked whether women are equally suited for traditionally male jobs, most agreed, with a few exceptions:
- Doctor: 85% believe that men and women are equally suitable
- Judge: 84%
- Research Scientist: 83%
- Professor: 81%
- Police Detective: 79%
- CEO of a company: 75%
- Carpenter: 38%
- Prison Guard: 37%
When it comes to modern gender roles:
- 91% believe that both men and women can initiate sex in a relationship.
- 85% believe that a daughter should be encouraged to reach for any goal she is interested in, even if it is stereotypically male.
- 81% would still pursue their career dreams even if they differed from the gender norm (e.g. firefighter, pilot, race car driver, etc.)
- 75% agree that choosing not to get married or have children doesn’t make them less of a woman.
- 70% think it’s fine for a woman to ask a man out on a date.
- 65% believe that women should be able to propose to a man.
- 53% believe that both girls and boys should learn domestic skills.
- 47% wouldn’t mind if their son was interested in stereotypically female activities like playing with dolls or dancing.
- 45% would end a relationship with a man who tried to get them to do most of the housework.
- 37% want their son to be comfortable with his emotions, and believe that boys should not be chastised for crying.
When it comes to old gender stereotypes:
- Only 6% of women still believe that the important decision-makers in a company should be male.
- 8% believe that little girls should be discouraged from being too tomboyish.
- 9% believe that men are better suited to management positions.
- 10% believe that men should control the finances in a relationship.
- 12% think that women should not work outside the home when there are children to raise.
- 13% don’t like the idea of making more money than their partner.
- 13% think that women who are sexually assertive are likely promiscuous.
- 14% believe that women should have fewer sexual partners than men.
- 22% said that they make choices (what to wear, how to act, etc.) based on what is most feminine.
- 22% believe that women should stick to “feminine” chores like cooking and cleaning, while men should take care of “masculine” chores like mowing the lawn and maintenance.
- 28% still think that they should play hard-to-get in a relationship.
- 35% like the idea of being taken care of (financially) by a man.
- 59% believe that men should be chivalrous.
In the last year, there has been a significant feminism backlash. An anti-feminist movement has taken hold of social media, with several young women posting reasons as to why they don’t believe in or need modern feminism. Understandably, the response from other women, and men, has been mixed.
I think what we can take away from this new movement and our study is that there are different degrees of feminism. Some women don’t want marriage and children. Some women like being swept off their feet and being taken care of by a man; there is nothing wrong with either of these scenarios. Feminism is about feeling comfortable in your own skin, whether you’re the CEO of a major company or a happy stay-at-home mom. It’s about treating women with respect and striving for equality, not pitting genders against each other. International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s accomplishments and taking pride in who we are. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we have come a very long way. Our suffragette ancestors would be proud.