Much of what we learn about gender occurs during our formative years, and it is largely a product of our culture. Mothers and fathers tend to reinforce gender roles in developing children, such as rewarding a boy for achieving in sports, or praising a girl for helping around the house. Because an individual’s culture, background, and upbringing play such a critical role in the development of views on gender, it comes as no surprise that gender views vary greatly. Each individual’s view on gender is unique, but it is not difficult to see that some general statements can be made about an individual’s view on gender based on the characteristics of that individual. Perhaps this holds true because the individual’s view on gender is largely learned from those around him or her, and the people in an individual’s sphere of influence often tend to have similar characteristics.
Based on the cross-tabulation provided with the Starks textbook, I used the 2000 General Social Survey data to compare views on the wife at home, presumably in the traditional “stay-at-home mom” sense, though the website does not give information as to the specific wording of the survey itself (which could have made a difference in the results). The question of whether the wife should be at home was compared by gender, age group, education, income of the family, political party, region, did the mother work when the respondent was a child, and the religion. The results give us insight into how groups of varying characteristics feel about gender.
Surprisingly, and most likely a dramatic change over the last fifty years, when questioned, men and women responded very similarly to the question, with 60.1% of females and 58.1% of males disagreeing with the statement. Only a 2% difference is shown between genders, and this small difference becomes even less significant when taken in