Comparing Gender Roles of Americans over Past 100 Years

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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If we look at America 100 years ago, the changes from then to now are phenomenal. In 1906, the average life p was 47 years. Only 18% of the homes had their own private bathtub. There were only 8000 cars total in the United States with only 144 miles of paved road. Today we have an estimate 250 million registered vehicles in the United States. There have been laws passed that every home must have its own bathtub and fresh source of water.

Considering the changes the United States has made over the past 100 years, it is no surprise that the roles of men and women have changed as well. The roles of men and women in contemporary society verses their roles in society 100 years ago present a large gap of physical and psychological differences. The American woman of the 1900’s was to be seen, not heard. She was the homemaker and the one to raise the children. She cooked, cleaned, tended the laundry, taught the children and took care of her husband.

She had no rights or freedoms in the political or religious world. was Limited rights and freedoms with a full load of responsibility was a difficult task to succeed at however the role was well defined which provided a sense of security. She was able to maintain a soft and emotional disposition simply because there were no expectations of her to be any other way. The 1900’s American woman is the definition of what we term the traditional role of a woman. Her counterpart, the 1900’s American man, was the worker, provider and protector.

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He had a voice in politics and religion. He gained respect and prestige by his job, his wife, and his children. The role of the man was simple but very important. He was strong and secure with the emotional support of his wife. The roles of the 1900 American women and man complimented each other well and were successful. The American woman role of modern day society has evolved since the 1900’s. In modern day, woman have the right to vote and run for presidency if she chooses to.

Women have equal rights as men in the political and religious fields as well in the work force. In modern day, many women work and help support financially for their family. The modern day American woman has more weight and stress to carry along with her rights and freedoms. This often prevents her from being soft and emotional. Their counterpart, the modern day American man, still follow the traditional roles of being the provider and the protector, but there are also a lot of “stay-at-home” dads which means they are now the homemaker.

In some cases, he is not the protector and security which can affect his masculinity. It is complicated to adequately detail the modern day roles of men and women as the lines are no longer clearly defined. The past 100 years has served the American man and woman a diverse amount of changes from woman gaining equal rights to men cooking and cleaning. In the 1900’s, the roles of women and men were clearly defined and accepted. Today, the roles are not defined and the expectations are confused.

Men and women both can now be the political leader, the provider, the homemaker, and the protector. The modern day roles of men and women sharing rights and freedoms are perceived as a good thing. Perhaps the traditional roles were more successful at complimenting each other as they eliminated the problem of gender role confusion.


  1. “Women 100 years Ago vs Women Now”
  2. “100 Years Ago in America” Copyright © 2002 JPS/Kitco Inc

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Comparing Gender Roles of Americans over Past 100 Years. (2017, Mar 19). Retrieved from

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