February 02, 2016 Practice Points

An Increase in Acceptance of Gender Role Reversals, but Still Some Work to Do

By Sarah B. Daugherty

In her article “Gender Reversals Gain Acceptance,” originally posted in The American Lawyer, columnist and blogger Vivia Chen compares December 2015 gender role research conducted by Kathleen Gerson of New York University and Jerry Jacobs of the University of Pennsylvania with prior research on the roles of men and women in the workplace and at home. Based on the 2015 study, Chen gleefully comes to the conclusion that “traditional gender roles are breaking down”; however, she stresses that attitudes about the “proper role” of women still have not caught up with the reality of the world today.

While gender reversals seem to be gaining acceptance with the vast majority of women (70 percent) working outside the home and catching up to men in earnings, Chen also points out that “class and economics” play into attitudes about the proper role of women. While Americans expect single mothers to work, almost 50 percent of Americans still disapprove of women who don’t necessarily “need” the money pursuing a career, especially if children are in the picture.

Chen suggests that while progress is being made, attitudes about American women in the workforce still have some shifting to do.

Keywords: woman advocate, litigation, career, business development, professional development, law firms, women

Sarah B. Daugherty, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville, TN

Copyright © 2016, American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, this committee, or the employer(s) of the author(s).