Family is the area where gender equality or, more precisely, gender disparities are the most acute, painful and often the hardest problems to deal with, at least, by law. The family is a complex social institution. Family relations are determined by the national culture, historic traditions, socioeconomic conditions, and some personal factors.
The aim of this paper is to understand the role of the family as a mediator between an individual and society. The family has characteristics that allow observing social processes. In terms of the functioning of the modern family as a system, there are some problems. The first one is the lack of social needs of a family. It causes low birth rate, high divorce rates, and low educational capacity. The second problem is in differences between male and female roles in a family and professional sphere.
Family problems concern all structures of society. They affect different social, labor, and age groups such as young people, adults, children, and seniors.
In the twentieth century, women were allowed to perform duties that were earlier considered masculine. Some researchers considered that it was done with the goal to encourage society to recognize the equality of genders. Women have passed a long way to achieving the freedom, rights, and privileges they have today.
Jessie Bernard in the article The Good-Provider Role: Its Rise and Fall suggested that the word “provider” was born in 1532 (Bernard, 1981, p.2). At that time, it meant a person, specifically a man, who used to bring food and clothes to the family. A little has changed since that time. Nowadays, “provider” has a gender inflection and almost the same meaning. Today, it is more about money, but, in my opinion, it changes nothing. According to the article, a man became a head of household in 1970 (Bernard, 1981, p. 2). This role was brought by the industrial revolution and market economy.
Jessie Bernard argued that society limited women by the men’s provider role. It made them vulnerable, without access to work, money, independence, power, and other privileges. In my opinion, in the existing conditions, feminism was a logical process of the challenge of a developing society. She argues whether a woman can be a good provider in the family. This argument may be inspired by the feminist movements in the 20th century. In my opinion, it ruins the balance in the family, because a woman is created to support a domestic atmosphere and comfort, while a man can deal with the problems of the external word.
The film Miss Representation raises the issue of a woman’s role in society and family. It underlines that woman “can’t be, what she don’t see” (Siebel Newsom, 2012). It stresses the hidden call that young women need to have more positive role models in the media and public life. These spheres still have the unique opportunity to promote these role models, and I find this idea very important. The film was a part of the social campaign on changing public policy in education and vocation of the business for social responsibility. It raised essential gender problems in the contemporary society. In my opinion, the issue of gender equality is crucial in the modern world and needs more attention.
In today’s society, there exists the weakening of a family as a social institution and the process of changing its social functions. The family loses its position in the socialization of individuals, recreation, and other features. The traditional role of a woman who gave birth to children and raised them, while her husband was the owner of the property, changed. Nowadays, a woman has an equal role with a man. This has changed the nature of the functioning of families and resulted in the positive and negative effects. On the one hand, it helped to promote the equality of women and men. On the other hand, it has exacerbated situations of decreased fertility and created other problems.
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The family is the fundamental unit of a society. In the family, the models of gender relations form and then go to other areas of public life. Therefore, it is crucial to consolidate the ideas of gender equality in the family and to ensure their effective implementation. It is very important to support a balance in a family, based on different social roles of both genders.