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Gender Class and Race

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University of Phoenix Material

Women and Men and the Family Life Cycle


Complete the following chart and questionnaire:

Differences of Men and Women in the Changing Life Cycle





During a girl’s adolescence, everything they do seems to be centered around getting a boy to notice them. While boys may seem to be more rowdy, girls are just as clever at finding themselves in trouble. Most girls naturally have nurturing personalities which give them the image of being more vulnerable and weaker than boys.

Boys are said to me more troublesome and may need more guidance. Boys are not as “soft” as girls and are often raised to be “tough”. Studies show that boys are more likely than girls to have discipline or behavior problems.

Role in the family

Women have always played a central role in families. They are the nurturers. They provide love and nourishment to the rest of the family.  The expectation for women has been that they would take care of the needs of others, first men, then children, then the elderly.

Throughout history, the man is always the provider and the protector, the “king of the castle” and so on. Even in the animal kingdom, most males are the top of the hierarchy. Those beneath him are there to serve him, in a way.

Evolving role within marriage in the last 30 years

The rate of marriage has increased since 1960, but marriage now plays a less comprehensive role in defining a woman’s social and personal life than it did in earlier times. Used to, the wife was not the provider, whereas a single mother would be.  A woman has often given up more to be married than a man (her occupation, friends, residence, family, name). She adjusts to his life. Women tend to focus more on financial stability and the man’s ability to provide for her in the marriage. Although men are more apt to help with raising the children now days, the mother still plays the teacher role more so then men (McGoldrick, Carter, & Garcia-Preto, 2011).

Men are the providers in marriage, and often resort to their wives to nurture them as it’s the “natural role” Over time, that has changed for the most part, as more and more women are becoming the providers. Behind the scenes however, not much has changed. The man is still dominant in most marriages. While women are still choosing a husband on their ability to provide, men are simpler in they are picking wives to reproduce. Both men and women however, are showing to be waiting longer to settle down (McGoldrick, Carter, & Garcia-Preto, 2011). 


Motherhood or fatherhood

A mother is a nurturer, a warm loving being who makes the child feel good. Overall, mothers are particularly vulnerable to blame and guilt because of societal expectations that they bear primary responsibility for the care and well-being of homes, husbands, children, and aging parents. The traditional family not only encouraged, but even required, dysfunctional patterns such as the over-responsibility of mothers for their children and the complementary underresponsibility or disengagement of men. Daughters and daughters-in-law still tend to bear responsibilities for their own and their husbands’ extended families. Now that most women are combining work and family responsibilities, they are increasingly overburdened (McGoldrick, Carter, & Garcia-Preto, 2011).

Over the past 40 years, men’s roles in the overall family have changed, matured, and grown. While mothers continue to be mainly responsible for the raising of children, fathers have become more involved and assumed more responsibility (Day et al., 2004). Some men are even helping more with house chores than previous generations. However, the mental burdens of raising a family among society still falls on the women’s shoulders. Until society changes their old views, women will be the main caretakers of the young and home life.


Opportunities impacted by gender

Although in a perfect world, gender would not influence your opportunities, that’s not how things are. Women still live in a man’s world, and are still not paid the same, and are still not on the same level playing field as male lawmakers.

We truly live in a man’s world and while women are treated more equally, men obviously have the upper hand. Most standards have been set in place by men and cater to men.

Select two families with which you are familiar (families in real life or families in television). The two families should have some variety in terms of race and class. For each family, draw a genogram. Refer to Ch. 5 of The Expanded Family Life Cycle for an example of a genogram.


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