Perceived Gender Roles: 1946-2018

2019 study published by the American Psychological Association examined the differences in men and women and the way they perceive these roles from 1946 to 2018.

The study classified predominant gender traits into three roles: communal, agentic, and competent. 

  • A communal role means having the ability to handle people, being affectionate, compassionate, generous, honest, outgoing, patient, well-mannered, romantic and sensitive. 
  • An agentic role means having the ability to make decisions and to remain calm in emergencies. The agentic role is also aggressive, ambitious, confident, courageous, decisive, hardworking, independent, possessive, proud, selfish and strong. 
  • A competent role means having the ability to create or invent new things and the willingness to accept new ideas, and being innovative, intelligent, level-headed, logical, organized, smart, and detail-oriented.

Results of the study found that men were more closely associated with agentic roles and women with communal roles. Both men and women shared close association with competent roles. Further, polls indicated that the agentic trait to women held steady over the past seven decades, though their communal and competent traits' perception increased.

These three roles, communal, agentic and competent act in complement to one another. But it is in marital unity that the man and woman virtuously complement each other to provide the best home for children to flourish.