Factors in Sex-Role Change DECLINING SEXIST BELIEFS
. The traditional sex-role asap"on in African society assumed a series of innate sex differences in abilities and limitations .which are no longer believed by educated persons. It was handy to attribute one's discriminatory practices to the will of God or of nature, but this no longer works very well. It is widely recognized that "normal" sex roles are normal Ear only a specific time and place (Peal, 1975]. Thuf, the Chanting WORK ROLES. The importance attributed to the work one does has always been closely related to one's status and power. 'In ancient societies where priests seemed to have the greatest copping over what happened to people, pests had the highest status today physicians my be said to have taken their place. In hunting societies where men caught the food and women generally prepared it, the man's success ill hying determiner whether the group starved. In food gathering societies eggs. nuts, berries, grains,fruits, . herbs) and under hoe agriculture women's direct contribution to food supply
increased, and women's power also.increased [Whyte, 1978; p. 67]. In colonial America the shortage of women and the needs of frontier life gave women a considerably higher status than in Europe at that time. Industrialization, both in nineteenth century America and in the developing countries today, lowered the status of women [Tingling and Ross, 1976]. In peasant societies, women shared with men in primary production (growing food; weaving cloth), while industrialization made men the primary breadwinners and women the helpers. But during the. later stages of industrialization and in the . postindustrial society, 4 family size shrinks and more wives become employed outside the home. In the postindustrial society, muscle grows steadily less important as a job requirement, and husbands find it impractical to keep their wives "barefoot and pregnant." Although husbands may appreciate their wives' paychecks,' their control is less complete than it was when husbands earned the entire cash income themselves. Blood and Wolfe  developed a "resource theory of family power," based upon data showing that the wife's power within the family tends to vary according to how closely her paycheck matches (or exceeds) her husband's. While women have been very slow to gain power equal to their economic contribution, the continent base' for male dominance IS steadily eroding.