The traditional role of women is the typical housewife: cleaning, cooking, and bearing children. Not only that, the traditional role also consisted of women not having the rights to vote and not being able to work or have a spot in politics. Voting, education, working, and being in politics were simply the men's job. Housekeeping and child care were the primary functions of the woman.
For approximately the last 100 years women have been fighting for the same rights as men and were able to make changes to the traditionally accepted feminine gender role.
The Women's Liberation Movement affected change in Western society, including women's suffrage; the right to initiate divorce proceedings, the right of women to make individual decisions regarding pregnancy (including access to contraceptives and abortion); the right to own property, broad employment for women at more equitable wages and access to university education.
Numerous studies and statistics show that even though the situation for women has improved during the last century, discrimination is still widespread: women earn an average of 77 cents to every one dollar men earn, occupy lower-ranking job positions than men, and do most of the housekeeping work.
The term glass ceiling refers to situations where the promotion of a qualified woman is stopped at a lower level because of discrimination. There is an unofficial, invisible barrier that prevents women from advancing in businesses.
The changes in social, political and economic spheres of the modern society entails not only the raise of women's role in society, they are accompanied by breaking of stereotypes to treat human beings by sex. Free economic relations and democratization of all spheres of life create the basis for equal social rights for any human being, for both men and women. Women now make up almost a half of the US workforce and mothers are breadwinners in a majority of families.
A number of vocabulary changes are being introduced as a result of the feminist movement.
Attention has been focused on the replacement of 'male' words with a generic meaning by neutral items. Chairman, for example, becoming chair or chairperson or salesman becoming sales assistant. In certain cases, such as job descriptions, use of sexually neutral language has become a legal requirement. There is continuing debate between extremists and moderates as to how far such revisions should go - whether they should affect traditional idioms such as man in the street (a typical person) and Neanderthal Man, or apply to parts of words where the male meaning of man is no longer dominant such as manhandle and woman. The vocabulary of marital status has also been affected with the introduction of Ms as a neutral alternative to Miss or Mrs.
Here are some examples of non-sexist variations of vocabulary:
spokesman - spokesperson
fireman - firefighter
cleaning lady - cleaner
foreman - supervisor
manpower - human resources
mankind - human race