For years, if not decades, there has been and still continues but to a lesser degree today, gender inequality with respect to role identity, that is, the society dictated the lifestyle and professions of males and females. These changes are being seen in Eastern Societies as well as Western parts of the world. Traditionally in the East females were seen as the strength of the household, who were deeply devoted, succumbing to the unquestionable authority of her husband, and sacrificing everything for their children. She should be a modest wife, great cook, endless source of maternal wisdom and that was where it stopped. For example, in Thailand when a baby was born, if it was a male, a slate and a pencil would be placed beside the baby, but if a female, a needle and thread would be put there instead. This reflected the different expected roles of a man and a woman.
The former was expected to become a man of knowledge and the latter a good housewife. According to, Sarutta in her article "Women's Status in Thai Society," the first Thai monarch studying abroad was King Rama VI (1910-1925) who went to study in England in 1893 and returned home in 1903. The king had a chance to observe the advancement of women in the western world. So he launched a campaign to win rights for Thai women, though it was limited to high society circles. The king also propagated his idea about the proper qualities of Thai women in several literary works, that women should have good manners, be able to take charge of household chores, and be good at cooking.
At the same time, they should be well educated, sharp-witted, and responsible, and help their country. To improve women's status, the king set an example to other men by treating women politely like in western culture and taking his fiancee to social functions. In Western Societies, traditional females were confined to the roles of homemaker, child-bearer and depended solely on the men for sustenance, while the males were valued for their competitiveness and their ability to make money, 'being the bread winner'. Little boys were taught to perform only certain chores (for example, helping their fathers in the field, fix things etc. ) while the girls were brought up to mend garments, cook, keep the house clean etc. A man in those times was considered successful if he was able to provide for his family.
The business society supported the hardworking, self-sacrificing, competitive, corporate man, with the wife at home who allowed him complete freedom to work. In the religious society, females were restricted to the roles of Sunday School Teacher, Choir Director, and served on committees but were not allowed to actually lead a congregation. Females are, according to 1 Timothy 2: 12, not to have authority over men. In more recent times, males and females are more likely to share the role of home-maker, parent and care-giver equally. They share two incomes, and increasingly women are more educated (about 75% of the graduates from Universities are women) and earn higher incomes. Females are now competing head to head with men in what was once considered the male dominated "Corporate World." Males and Females are now venturing into professions that were once male-oriented or female-oriented.
For example, more women can be seen on construction sites working on par with men, and more men venturing into the field of Nursing. Women are now pasturing churches and taking up roles as Bishops. Nowadays, women find themselves in a favourable position in their society. However, despite shifts in roles, women still maintain their sweet manners, love to please their families, and try to live up to their expected role as a good mother. These new roles are changing the way males and females relate as well as the way men and women work.