Traditionally, a family was supposed to consist of a woman as a homemaker, a man as a breadwinner, and children. However, in the contemporary world, a traditional family pattern has become outdated because more and more women are finding paid work (Hu & Nash 2019). Nowadays, 70% of women having minor children are employed, with 75% of them working full-time (DeWolf 2017, para. 7). Furthermore, people have begun to consider men’s and women’s roles in the workforce and family more equally since the 1970s (Donnelly et al. 2016). The increased number of single-parent families also causes the change in gender roles, and in 87% of cases, children stay with mothers (Lundberg, Pollak & Stearns 2016, p. 96). According to Parker (2015), women have to adjust their schedules to suit their family lives. Pinho and Gaunt (2019) argue that mothers’ employment leads to an equal share of childcare performed by both parents. Vitali and Berrington (2016) believe that in the future, a new form of the family will be prevalent, with spouses sharing their responsibilities in childcare and breadwinning. Men and women should become equal in a family.
The Decline of Traditional Families
The deconstruction of traditional families has encouraged the feminist objective to rebuff sexual variations and form androgynous societies. Such societies are antithetic to the sustenance of traditional families where wives and husbands had complimentary, not genderless, tasks of women being homemakers and caretakers of children and men as primary income providers for their families (Hu & Nash 2019). The decline in the rate of traditional families in society has been followed by a rising twist of pathologies that typify the majority of families in the US and around the globe. In the early 21st century, less than 30% of all families consisted of married couples with the wife not working away from home (DeWolf 2017). This signifies that most of the families in the United States and around the world experience, and consequently, countries encounter varied opportunities and challenges from the people who still support traditional families’ arrangements.
Among the numerous inclinations that have greatly influenced American families during the 21st century, three have been principally noteworthy. The first trend is the augment in female contribution in the workforce as increasing rates of opportunities have become available for women to benefit, and as a high number of females take advantage of such changes (Atreya et al. 2018). The second comprises a set of interrelated changes in the manner in which couples are increasingly dissolving marriages attributable to minor and resolvable issues. This has been a major source of the rising prevalence of single-parent setups. The third development includes advancement in people’s health and life expectancy, which have made taking care of older members of the family, and provision of retirement needs, highly significant concerns for household heads in the present times.
Changed Attitudes toward Working Mothers
A high number of Americans, approximately 80%, discards the idea that women are supposed to go back to their traditional positions in society. Nonetheless, a few people support the view that having mothers who work around the clock is an ideal condition and is suitable for young children. It is widely acknowledged that having working mothers is suitable for societal and national development. This concerns women being engaged in paid work, whether on family farms, at home, or in different organizations. In 1999, about 60% of the female population from sixteen years of age was in the workforce (whether already working or seeking employment). This marked a threefold increase from the level of females in the workforce in 1990. Furthermore, the level of women’s contribution from age 25 to 44 years, the ones who have a high probability of balancing work and taking care of children, has significantly increased from below 20% in 1900 to more than 75% currently (Donnelly et al. 2016).
The level of participation in the workforce for women below 25 years and above 44 years has been relatively less than the general rates, although there has been a comparable pattern of increase. Different factors have led to the increase in women’s participation in the paid workforce and job market at large. Some of the major aspects include the augment in education opportunities and salaries for women, rising chances for females in the job market, and alterations of family arrangements (O’Hagan 2018). Attributable to increased participation in the workforce and later in marriages, a high percentage of women end up living independently, are employed before marriage, or act as breadwinners. This results in their greater connection to the labor market and improves their possibility of continued working or employment after marriage and getting children.
Increased Number of Single-Parent Families
As the level of traditional families continues to decline, there has been a rise in the number of single-parent families. In 2018, only less than 40% of children stayed in families with both parents in their first marriage. On the contrary, in 1960, more than 75% of children lived with both biological parents. More than 30% of children live in single-parent families and do not know their other parent, whether mother or father (Lundberg, Pollak & Stearns 2016). Although the traditional ideal entailed couples marrying young and maintaining marriage until the death of one spouse, the family has become complicated and less sustainable.
In 1998, only 6% of women between 45 and 65 years of age had never been in a marriage. Nevertheless, women are presently spending a small proportion of their adult lives in marriage, and the majority is choosing not to get married. This is creating a situation where a high percentage of children are being born and raised by unmarried mothers. Additionally, the proportion of divorce has been rising in the 21st century, thus leading to an increase in the number of single-parent families (Chen et al. 2019). A long life expectancy could be attributed to the increase in the number of single-parent families since it leads to many years in marriage. The net result of all such forces is a dramatic rise in the rate of children living with one parent.
Necessity of Adjusting Schedules to Family Lives
For working mothers in the United States and internationally, the problem of juggling occupation and family life presents a critical issue. This has been identified by an increasingly high number of employers who have implemented family-friendly strategies such as paid maternity leave, among others (Parker 2015). Even though only a small proportion of Americans desire a return to traditional responsibilities of women as homemakers and men as breadwinners, it is indubitable that wives are the ones who regulate their schedules while making compromises the moment needs of children and other members of the family come up and demand attention.
Mothers have a higher probability than fathers to report experiences of vital profession disruptions to cater to the needs of their families. Although women form almost 50% of the labor force in the United States, they dedicate more time than men to household roles and childcare and lesser time to paid work (Pinho & Gaunt 2019). This is partly because gender roles are lagging behind labor force inclinations. Economists affirm that family-associated work interruptions weaken women’s fiscal prospects in different approaches, widen the gender wage gap, and narrow the channel that supplies top-level positions.
New Pattern of Family in the Future
In the future, women and girls in most families will have made considerable headway in all occupations that are nearly entirely associated with men. Some of the professions where women will almost equal men include the police force, architects, doctors, and lawyers. Nevertheless, it will take many years for women to overcome male domination in such occupations, and for their proportion to rise to around 50% (Vitali & Berrington 2016). This will require eradication of hindrances to an increasing number of women taking such careers. One vital concern for the future of families is women sharing most of their domestic chores with their husbands for them to have an equal chance to pursue professional training programs. Although present situations appear far-off from an equitable sharing of household tasks, there are indications of some actual steps in that route. For example, in some circumstances, husbands have started acting as homemakers while their wives earn the family income. Although full-time working wives still undertake domestic duties, in most instances, and have less spare time than their spouses, the disparity is gradually declining. With such occurrences and, possibly increasing institutional support, women will triumph over inequalities associated with gender, which are entrenched in intimate backdrops of the family.
In the past, families were supposed to be composed of the wife as a homemaker, the husband as a breadwinner, and children. Nevertheless, a traditional family pattern has become old-fashioned today because women are increasingly finding paid work. In the future, a new trend of the family will be widespread, with both the husband and wife sharing responsibilities of childcare, domestic chores, and breadwinning. Both spouses should become equal in a family.
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O’Hagan, C 2018, ‘Broadening the intersectional path: revealing organizational practices through ‘working mothers’ narratives about time’, Gender, Work & Organization, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 443-458.
Parker, K 2015, ‘Women more than men adjust their careers for family life’, Pew Research Center, Web.
Pinho, M & Gaunt, R 2019, ‘Doing and undoing gender in male carer/female breadwinner families’, Community, Work & Family, pp. 1-16.
Vitali, A & Berrington, A 2016, ‘Happy families? Male acceptance of equality in the home could define the future’, The Conversation, Web.