Women and Sex Roles: A Social Psychological Perspective

By Irene H. Frieze; Jacquelynne E. Parsons et al. | Go to book overview

12

Achievement and
Nonachievement in Women

ACHIEVEMENT AND MEN

*The people of the United States have traditionally been oriented toward personal achievement for themselves and have valued it in others. Men, especially, have been socialized to desire success in their work and other areas, such as sports, college, and politics. Social prestige is generally awarded to men on the basis of their success in their work or other areas. Perhaps because of the strong social value attached to the work men do, men's personal sense of worth has also often been strongly tied to their work. Along with the central role of work achievement in their lives, men have also tended to be highly motivated toward doing things well and many of them display high levels of what psychologists have labeled "achievement motivation."

The traditional roles assigned to women further help men in their efforts to be successful. Women are socialized to encourage their husbands and to assist in their success in every way that they can. The traditional wife cares for the daily needs of the husband as well as helping him in other ways such as entertaining business associates. She may also aid him in secretarial or clerical work if that is needed. Women are expected to be emotionally supportive of the efforts of their husbands, not only in their jobs, but also in their other achievement efforts (Papanek, 1973).

In addition to receiving support from his family, a man is also helped in

____________________
*
Irene Frieze was the primary author of this chapter.

-234-

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