Gilman + Gender Inequality

Blog #5

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) is an American intellectual and sociologist who critiqued the idea of gender inequality. Gender inequality is the economic and political disparities due to gender. Economically, there are disparities between wealth and income. Politically, there are disparities between legal rights. Gilman points out that a female’s economic position is basically determined by her husband or father (closest male relationship). Women lack economic independence. 

Today, this same idea of gender equality still holds true, however I believe that it has changed a bit and women do not depend on males economically in all cases. Gender socialization process is both dynamic and subject to change. Back in the day, women were told to stay home and do “housework”, such as cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of the children. However, now, females are capable of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and taking care of children as well as having a job. Therefore, the women do not solely depend on the income of their spouse. Sometimes, we can see the care where the father stays home as the “house-mom” and does all the work that was previously taught to children as roles taken by females. For instance, my sisters coworker is a female and the only source of income for their family. Her husband stays home and takes care of the children, while she goes to work to bring home money to support the family. 

I found the image below to be really interesting because it is showing how society is changing and males stay home and do the house work:


Also, in many Scandinavian countries, there are many benefits that are in favor for both men and women. In Sweden, the men are allowed to take off for maternity leave, even though that rule only pertains to women in some countries. Sweden has a great equalization policy when it comes to maternity leave. 


2 responses to “Gilman + Gender Inequality

  1. I think you make a great point on how times are changing. although i believe there is still many inequalities in the workplace, I think that in today’s society, as you mentioned above has changed the way that gender roles are being looked at. Men are staying home more, as the women go out to work, we see this a lot in the 21st century. As for my personal experience with this, I grew up in a single parent household, where my father had to work, cook and clean for us. I never realized nor did I ever believe that there was anything wrong with a man in the kitchen, but many friends I had growing up saw it as strange, due to gender norms that society has told or for a better use of words taught us to follow. I believe that we are making great strides and think that it is great that Sweden is more openly accepting of these integration of roles within and out of the household. (p.s. love the picture)

  2. Nice post — you point to continuities and changes in the nature of gender inequality and gender socialization. “Stay-at-home-dads” are definitely on the rise. Interestingly, much of the recent uptick is due to economic necessity — inadequate employment opportunities. So still, it’s economic forces driving gender socialization. In a strange twist, our current economic downturn may be contributing to a shift in gender norms and expectations.

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