There's no doubt about it -- the workplace is changing for men and women. More women are entering the workforce than ever before, changing the perceptions of traditional gender roles. Even so, the roles males play in the workforce haven't changed as much as their roles outside of work. In time, perhaps, the changing roles of women and men in general will take on a different shape in the workplace.
Attitude Toward Traditional Gender Roles
As of 2008, men and women aren't as likely to agree to traditional gender roles as they did in 1977. Back then, 64 percent of employees of all ages agreed the man should earn the money and the woman should tend to the children and home. In 2008, only 39 percent of all employees agreed to the same premise. While that's a big drop, two in five employees still believe in traditional gender roles.
Employed Men Are Spending More Time With Children
Working men are now spending significantly more time per workday with their children than they did in the 1970s. Modern fathers spend an average of 4.1 hours with their children under the age of 13 on workdays, up from two hours in 1977. The amount of time mothers spend with their children hasn't changed as much but has increased from 4.5 hours in 1977 to 5.4 hours.
Male Work-Life Conflict
Men have reported an increase in work-life conflict over the last three decades. Women, however, have not reported significant changes. In 1977, men's work-life conflict was 34 percent, rising to 49 percent in 2008. At the same time, the conflict for women has increased from 34 percent to 43 percent. Work-life conflict especially afflicts employed fathers in dual-earner families. Sixty percent report some kind of work-life conflict.
Men Are Earning Fewer Professional Degrees
Women have been earning more bachelor's degrees than men since 1982 and more master's degrees since 1981. As of 2006, women earned 58 percent of all bachelor's degrees and 60 percent of master's degrees. Women are projected to earn 60 percent of bachelor's degrees in 2016, 63 percent of master's and 54 percent of doctorate and professional degrees. Even so, women are still earning significantly less than men. In 2007, the average full-time female employee earned just 80 percent of what men earned on a weekly basis.
Despite changing roles at home and in society, men still have advantages in the workplace. This permits them to negotiate entry-level salaries 7.6 percent higher than women. Where only 7 percent of women were able to negotiate for more money, more than 50 percent of men did the same. Furthermore, men tend to feel more confident in their roles in the workplace, with more men than women willing to attempt tasks they're unprepared for. Senior executives are more likely to mentor men than women.
Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.