Everyone acknowledges that there are significant differences between males and females, even if they are only physical. Others see not only the physical but also the social, emotional and intellectual differences between male and female. Gender roles influence women and men in virtually every area of life including family and occupation, but are women and men subject to different roles or behavior expectations? .
Gender roles by definition are the social norms that dictate what is socially appropriate male and female behavior. In early American culture it was common for a women's job to be a submissive homemaker in clear contrast to the males aggressive breadwinner role. .
The seventies marked the beginning of the Woman's Movement and the end of the ideals we held on what it is to be a "man" and what it is to be a "woman." Gender roles in Western society have been changing rapidly in recent years. The transformation was created by evolutionary changes in society, including economic changes, and perhaps because people felt pressured to change; they felt the traditional social structure was somehow unjust or unfair. .
Gender roles are a part of the socialization process of human beings. These roles are influenced by the individual's cultural and economic background. They are initiated at a very early age, beginning at birth. From the time of birth our young are beginning to learn their gender roles. Society begins teaching them certain values and creating in them certain behavior patterns acceptable to their social roles. These roles have been in a state of flux in American society in recent years. Men and women today can be seen as having expanded their roles in society, with women entering formerly male dominated roles and men finding new ways to relate to and function in the family unit.