Women in the contemporary society is the one of the most widely discussed questions nowadays. The development level of the society and its potential possibility depend on many factors, and one factor is a woman, her position in society. It means that the status of women serves as an indicator of the general social atmosphere in society. In turn, changes taking place in society are reflected in women’s value system and their social value orientations.
Thus, defining the place and role of women in society is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
The growth of women’s economic activity and employment is one of the main trends characterizing changes in the structure and directions of realization of labor potential in the second half of the twentieth century in most developed countries of the world. However, it is impossible to define the role and place in society without understanding what views of modern women are in our society.
In our research we have appealed to today’s young people to illuminate their vision of portrait of a modern woman. At the same time, we were interested in comparing young people’s perception of a modern woman with an ideal one, in order to find out how similar these images are and what differences there are between them. To accomplish the task, we used the method “A Structure of a Man’s Image (Herarchical)”.
As a result, we received more than 300 characteristics of a modern woman from 80 respondents, of which the most frequent were the following: independent, fashionable, intelligent, purposeful, careerist, educated, self-reliant, well-groomed, sociable, strong, beautiful, mercantile, rough, confident, open, working, self-sufficient, athletic, stupid, versatile and erudite.
When describing an ideal woman, we received more than 200 characteristics, of which the most popular were: beautiful, intelligent, kind, caring, educated, wise, feminine, educated, modest, able to cook, economic, purposeful, loving, humorous, loyal, sociable, understanding, family, honest, well-groomed, open and passionate. This is not complete list of characteristics, but even there we can see similarity between the two images. Both of these images are reflecting the perceptions of young people and correspond to the current realities of society. However, if the ideal image first of all reflects the established in the society conceptions based on traditions, stereotypes and opinion of respondents, then the modern image reflects their own views more. Thus, the differences between both images show as the changes that have occurred in women over the years, because in the modern world, women are still striving to achieve the ideal, but at the same time strive to meet the requirements of the modern world.
In this way we concluded that comparing both images the most effective method. Firstly, we need to note that results contradict each other: for example, 20% of respondents said that a modern woman is educated, but 7.5% claimed that she is stupid and 2.5% that she is ignorant. In a similar vein with the following characteristics: rough (10%) and kind (6.25%), friendly (3.75%). Also, it should be mentioned that the same number of respondents marked the following features: responsible and irresponsible. As we can see there is no established stereotype of what a woman is like in contemporary society.
What is more, studies show that nowadays women are more interested in education and career advancement then in the past , statistics also reveals the increasing of female employment: from 2002 to 2018 its growth was more than 10%. Our study confirms that facts: 17.5 % of respondents noted women’s desire to career development and 8.75% desire for employment. From our opinion it is related to women’s desire for independence, self-reliant and self-realization, which were mentioned in the 30% of replies, 17.5% and 6.25% respectively.
It seems important to add based on the survey results that a modern woman should be able to use modern technology, which is perfectly consistent with the growing participation of women in science. Despite that women are often choose social sciences and medicine, we can observe the growth of female involvement in engineering, physical science.
The next step of our research is to compare the images of an ideal woman with a modern woman. The image of an ideal woman is, in our opinion, the most accurate expression of the views on women that are established in society. Therefore, comparing these two images will help us to determine how much a woman has changed over the years.
The first difference between them the fact that people believe that an ideal woman is a good housewife (20%) and a keeper of the family hearth (16.25%). In turn, a modern woman is less associated with the keeper of the hearth (3.75%) and housewife (6.25%). However, there is a tendency for a woman to strike a reasonable balance between family and work (5%) when she’s got time everywhere (5%). Important to point that in modern society women also face the need to provide for their families alone, which is also reflected in our study (1.25%). In addition, the perception of women as mothers remained unchanged – 5% of the respondents indicated this quality in both images.
The second diversity is that despite the fact that respondents marked desire for a healthy lifestyle in both images, they also note the propensity of modern women to acquire bad habits, especially smoking.
The last difference is that an ideal woman is primarily associated with femininity, tenderness and naturalness, whereas in modern women, along with these qualities, more masculine qualities such as demanding, ambitious, charismatic and authoritative begin to appear. Worth to note that 3.75% of respondents said that she is more like a man.
In conclusion, it is undeniable that the female image in the modern world has undergone significant changes. And if vision of an ideal women is, in our opinion, related with vision of a mother. It is no coincidence that 3.75% of answers were: “The perfect woman is woman like my mother”. But when we asked about a modern woman, the first answers were independent and self-sufficient. So, as we can see in contemporary society women got more freedom to do whatever she wanted to do. She began demand equality and dictate your own rules (15%). She started to pay more attention to her desires and her needs.
And despite that she has acquired negative qualities, but she has retained those positive qualities of an ideal woman and also has add some new ones to the list. In our study, we found that the contradictory views on women in today’s world most fully reflect the fact that today women have a huge number of opportunities to do everything and to became whatever she wants.
But also, we tend to believe that this is related with changes in our society. A person can adapt to anything. Therefore, the changes that have occurred to modern women are primarily dictated by the society in which we live. In turn, the nature of a woman has not changed, she still remains to be a mother, and our study has confirmed it. Generally, changes in women are a reflection of the global changes that are also taking place within society itself. After all, we cannot deny that nowadays changes have affected not only the approach to parenting and the whole institution of the family, but also some norms of behavior.