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Gender equality a cause for marriage break

Updated on August 4, 2016

A study by the University of Maryland in USA shows a sharp increase in divorce rates between the year 1960 and 1980. By 1980, about 23 divorces were recorded for every 1000 married women. Although there was a steady decline in divorce rates after 1980, recent data suggests that out of all formally recorded marriages more and more are ending in divorce or separation. For example, figures from the Office of the National Statistics (ONS) show an increase in divorce rates between 2010 and 2012 in England and Wales. There were a total of 118,140 divorces in 2012 compared to 117,558 in 2011. About half of these were said to have occurred in the first 10 year of marriage. Most of these were first marriages and divorce occurred between the fourth and 8th anniversary. Various factors are cited for divorce such as infidelity, but we shall examine the role of Gender Equality and woman emancipation.

Throughout the nineteenth and part of the twentieth century, Men and women had specific roles in society that were thought to be unique to their respective genders. Besides the obvious responsibility of passing their genes into the next generation, men had to be the heads of the home, the bread winners and sole providers. They were responsible for securing the home as well as playing judge and disciplinarian. Women on the other hand were responsible for tiding and making the home as homely as possible, grooming the children and comforting man after a hard day’s work. Boys and girls from different societies were trained by elders to grow into these responsibilities. Majority of the children learned well and often adapted to these responsibilities satisfactorily. Those who failed were often ridiculed by their peers.

Generally, marriages were stronger because the partners were bound together not just by Love, but also the sense of responsibility to one’s duties in the home. Men took on their duties with a sense of pride, while women played their role whole heartedly. No body complained and marriages thrived to several decades. The vow of “till death do us part” was upheld in its real sense.

Towards the end of the twentieth century however, feminist ideologies started spring up. As industrialization and modernization took precedence, there was agitation for equal opportunity for both men and women. Feminists felt confining women to the home was unfair treatment since they had equal potential as men to influence world development. The idea was that the bread wining, home making and child parenting be divided equally between husband and wife, so as to allow the woman time away from home duties. The style of teaching and training both at home and in schools gradually changed from gender based to equal opportunity and exposure. Boys were taught to be more involved in house chores, while girls were introduced to the environment away from home. The fundamental principles upon which homes had been thriving were slowly but surely being forgotten.

Life today has continued to evolve along the same path. More women are seen in positions of influence away from home, while men are more required to participate in daily house chores.

Divorce and separation affects the children
Divorce and separation affects the children | Source

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What is the effect of gender equality on marriage and Families?

The feminist revolution is successfully taking ground on society, under the guise of gender equality. Although gender equality is being widely embraced, it is the silent disease that is eating on modern day marriages. It is a major factor in the increasing marriage breaks seen today. For the record am not against equal rights and opportunity, neither do I consider women inferior to men. My point is that mixing gender roles in family can be detrimental. Therefore as one looks out for signs of a successful marriage, the concept of gender equality shouldn’t be ignored.

The idea of men being more involved at home is not necessarily a bad thing because it allows them more time with their children thus actively participating in parenting. The problem is that women and men were created in a way that each is to perform unique roles that complement each other, in order to build a strong union. For example, a man cannot be a mother; neither can a woman be a father. Compromising this distinction in roles will deprive the home of benefits of diverse role models. Men are naturally more adventurous and better risk takers compared to women who are more cautious and protective. As children grow, they need to learn and thereafter balance each of these traits in order to thrive in the cunning world. Eliminating role distinction will deny children the opportunity to actively learn and develop into gender roles and yet those roles are vital for societal morals and cohesion. I know a couple that separated after 4 years of marriage because the husband was always too tired from work to help his wife in the kitchen. They both had day jobs, but the wife always got home a little earlier. From her point of view, the husband was really selfish and inconsiderate for always retiring to the T.v, while she toiled with all the chores.

The feminist theory depicts women as victims of male dominance. But it has subconsciously led to more conflicts in homes than ever before. As a result of women emancipation, modern women have forgotten their natural responsibility of home making and feel it should be evenly shared with their spouses. On the hand, some men have deliberately abandoned their manly responsibilities of being bread winner and provider of the family, simply because their women are earning (sometimes better than them). They simply sit back and expect the woman to pay the bills and send the children to school, while they enjoy other luxuries of life. This kind of arrangement strains the marriage.

In some situations the wife is in a superior position of power in the social circles. In such homes, the man is required to attend to the details of home management such as the children’s laundry, feeding and so forth because the wife is too busy with her demanding job and is always too tired for such small things. This kind of home is a typical example of reversed gender roles and is unlikely to survive for long for two reasons;

It deprives the Man of his pride, and eventually turns him into a grumpy nagging husband. Men are naturally egocentric and were created to lead rather than to be followers. Secondly, women were specially created. They are better listeners, are more attached to their children, have a sharper eye for detail and are therefore better at child grooming. These are the qualities required for home making and men are unfortunately not gifted in this area. As bad as it sounds, it is a true fact of life.

Women are strong, intelligent and provide healthy competition in a busy working environment. They are not inferior to men and must therefore be treated to equal rights, and opportunities. However the family is the basic unit of society and provides the fundamental unit of social administration. It is neither a coincidence nor a mistake that all societies across the globe regardless of race, consider the man as the head and provider of the home. Therefore attempting to distort this natural order can potentially harm marriage, family and society in the long run. Marriage can only last if both partners understand and accept their roles and responsibilities in the Union.


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    • LimeyFeline profile image


      14 months ago

      I am a not a housewife and my husband and I have very non traditional gender roles. I don't get a lot of weird looks and questions because of it. Even though I don't stay at home, my husband and I split housework and financial responsibilities equally.

      I do not see a lot of my friends have struggles in their relationships. They both have jobs and shares the chores and they do not fight over it, though they might fight for difference reasons. Men should always do chores. My husband gladly helps me out when I ask him, and I always expect him to help me all the time. Our marriage is very strong and we fight occasionally, though it is never about such elementary issues as who should do the housework, because we have a mutual understanding that whoever lives in the house should help out in maintaining it. I've had my friends ask us how we do it and we say the same thing to them. We understand our equally split responsibilities and respect each other for it. We do not value how traditional gender roles have worked in our favor, because it hasn't.

      If the issue truly is that men are being deprived of their pride, this is not the fault of feminism or anything besides the male ego. Men whose egos are hurt easily tend not to make good husbands in the first place, as humility on both the part of the husband and the wife is an important factor of a successful relationship.

      In my experience, if a couple is getting divorced because of "unbalanced gender roles," a deeper issue is usually at play. There are many men and women who want to be in a marriage with traditional gender roles. Sometimes one of these people makes the mistake of marrying someone who does not want to be in a marriage with traditional gender roles. My ex boyfriend was very traditional in his mindset and I avoided traditional gender roles like the plague. After we broke up, I started seeing my now-husband who does not neatly fit into gender roles either, and I am much happier with him than I was with my ex. My ex, in turn, found a woman who does embrace these gender roles, and he is much happier with her than he is with me, so all is well.

      It's important to note that issues arise when one partner expects the other to change when that isn't what they want to do. In the case of my marriage, I didn't ask my husband to accommodate my gender role non-conformity, because he simply doesn't care about gender roles. My ex, who tried to get me to change, and who I tried to ask to change, was not the right person for me. Partners who marry each other before discussing things such as whether or not they conform to gender roles will end up fighting about it, so it's best to address these things while they are dating, not after marriage.

    • ian 12am profile imageAUTHOR

      Ian Batanda 

      24 months ago

      I Agree with you in every aspect. If we don't realize that Gender roles and responsibilities are vital to the stability of marriage, the institution of marriage will remain a matter of formality. And this certainly has a serious bearing on the upbringing and morality of our children. Thanks for the comment.

    • V Greenfield profile image

      V Greenfield 

      2 years ago

      First, I have to say that I am so glad that I found this Hub. I am a housewife and my husband and I have very traditional gender roles. I get a lot of weird looks and questions because of it. Many women(Especially feminists) think that I am oppressed by my husband because I stay at home, do all of the chores, cook whatever dinner he wants and run and do all of the errands.

      Now, I've seen a lot of my friends have struggles in their relationships. They both have jobs and shares the chores and a lot of them fight. I'm not saying that men can't do any of the chores. My husband gladly helps me out when I ask him, but I never expect him to help me all the time. Our marriage is very strong and we never fight. I've had my friends ask us how we do it and we say the same thing to them. We understand our responsibilities and respect each other for it. We also value how amazing traditional gender roles have worked in our favor.

      I've been starting to do research on hormone levels on men and woman, and the conclusion I've come to as to why testosterone is depleting in men is because of this feminist movement. Things like, leadership and competition, the environment of the workplace builds up testosterone. Things like going shopping, doing the chores and cooking increase estrogen. Which explains a lot in men and women as to why they tend to make the decisions they do. What we're seeing now in the modern age is a flip flop of those hormones. Men are getting more estrogen and women are getting more testosterone because they're in the workplace more. Testosterone in women causes ten times more stress than in men. I'm not saying that women can't work, but it this movement for "equality" has big downsides to relationships.

      Even though I'm a housewife, I have never once felt unequal to my husband. He always treats me with respect and appreciates that I do the things I do for him. I think somewhere along the line a group of people started telling people that being a housewife, wasn't valued anymore, when that really wasn't the case. Back then people had great respect for housewives. Now, if you tell people you stay home, and cook and clean, they look down on you. Also I honestly believe that couples would be happier if the women did choose to work less or stay at home completely. But that just based on my personal experience and the research that I've done individually.


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