Describe the role of women in the past and present time.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the United States, at least, women's roles today and in the past have some things in common, but are also very different.

In the past, (largely in the time from after the Civil War up through the 1970s or so) women were expected to center their lives around homemaking.  They were expected to be wives and mothers and, for the most part, nothing else.  Women were definitely expected to be subordinate to men.

Nowadays, some things have not changed much.  Women are still expected to do most of the work of keeping house and caring for children.  It is not as much as in the past, but that is still seen as work that is more suited for women.  At the same time, however, there is a clear assumption that it is okay and even desireable for a woman to have a career.  Just as one example of this, we can see that a very conservative woman, Michelle Bachmann, is running to be president of the United States.  This shows a major change in how women's roles are perceived.

Women now are not expected (by the vast majority of Americans) to be subordinate to men.  They are not expected to be only wives and mothers.  However, they are still expected to do much of the work that they used to in their roles as wives and mothers.  In addition, they are expected in many cases to have careers just as men do.