Women’s work in the 21st century
Change in generations has caused change in perceptions regarding women’s work. In the 17th to the 20th century, the role of women was to do domestic household chores such as cooking, washing utensils and maintaining cleanliness in the household. Conversely, men did the outdoor chores such as cultivation, looking after livestock, and constructing and securing the home. An interview was done to get people’s views on what constitutes work and whether or not it should be based on gender. Three women were interviewed; Jane, Rose, and Alice. Jane was aged 22, Rose 42, and Alice 62 years. Basing on their responses, work should not be based on gender.
Alice 62, confirmed that work in the modern society should not be based on gender. She defined work as any responsibility done by individuals. She added that in the traditional society, especially from the 17th -20th century, women were perceived to be responsible for household chores. It is due to this that most women were discriminated against in terms of education. Household chores did not require any skills or knowledge; so young girls were apprenticed by their mothers while their male counterparts were sent to school. The impact of this was that the males mistreated the females. In fact, physical abuse or assault that was frequent in households in the ancient was caused by women being discriminated and denied access to education. Men saw themselves as educated and had the power to control women. The negative impacts of physical abuse on women have ever since changed people’s perception on whether work should be based on gender. There are feelings among people that women are equal to men and have the capability of performing chores meant for men such as being family breadwinners.
Rose, 42 was also of the opinion that work should not be based on gender. She defined work as any duty that a person does with the aim of getting income in return. She gave examples of women leaders in the religious world who have made it in bringing together women and men. She also gave examples of heads of states who are women. Apparently, countries such as Germany that are headed by women are on the right track. This disputes the fact that certain jobs or work should be left for men and others for women.
Jane 22, was against the opinion of the other two. According to her, work needed to be based on gender. Her definition of work is that it entails all the activities that men do in order to sustain and maintain their families. She stated that most jobs that men do are manual, more engaging and tiresome. She also stated that should women do jobs meant for men, they are tend to be exposed to risks such as physical injuries. She gave examples of Armed Services, mining sectors and driving jobs that are demanding and are too risky to be done by women. The reason most men have succeeded in such jobs is that they are hardy and know what to do, and at what time. Women lack such characteristics, hence should not be allowed to do work or jobs meant for men.
Based on the interviews, neither the modern society nor the ancient society values the kind of work that was traditionally done by women outside of the workplace such as child rearing, cooking, cleaning and several others. Most women, especially in the ancient generation were looked down upon, as their household chores were seen to require no knowledge or skill. In the African culture, young girls were forced to stay at home while the males were sent to school to enhance and sharpen their skills. As a result, it would be right to conclude that jobs for women were not valued. Chauvinism is still evident in the modern world. Today, house helps are just young girls. It is rare to find a man or boy as a house help. In the rare occasions where men or boys are house helps, their role is to clean the compound, look after animals or provide security to the homestead. The low wages or salaries given to young female house helps in the modern world are evidences that the society does not value the kinds of work that were traditionally done by women outside the workplace. Why has this practice not changed? People believe that men will remain superior to women and must enjoy good jobs at the expense of women.
Although there have been global campaigns on gender equality, men have still dominated the better jobs while the domestic work has been left to women. The fruits of the campaigns have been seen in women getting access to education and leadership positions. It is rare for men to do domestic work unless they have no female individual around them. It will take a long time for men to accept to do domestic chores freely in the presence of female individuals. International organizations should hold more in order to bring an end to chauvinism.