Who is Cooking? Gender Inequality in the Kitchen

Jul 25


Isabella Whitmore US

Isabella Whitmore US

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“A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” Is this saying still true today?


Traditionally and culturally,Who is Cooking? Gender Inequality in the Kitchen Articles women have long been associated with being in the kitchen. Some even argue that it is women’s biological role to nurture the family by providing warm home cooked meals on the table. The society seems to see women as the nurturing gender and expect them to cook more than men.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, women’s role was confined to that of home-maker in which they stayed at home to take care of the house, children, and prepare meals while men went out to earn an income for the family. It was in the second half of the 20th century when women joined the work force which started to equalize the household chores between men and women.

However, women still feel social pressure to be the primary care giver at home which includes providing nourishment to the family by cooking healthy and delicious meals. This causes many mothers to seek for part time job instead of full time so that they can take care of their kids and cook for the family. Mothers who do not conform in this way of parenting can face social stigma. On the other hand, although men are helping with household chores they do not feel this pressure to the same extent as women.

Historically, and even up to today, women were the primary cook at home which makes it logical to assume that their dominance in the home kitchen would be reflected in professional kitchens like restaurants but the numbers suggest otherwise. In fact, professional kitchens are largely dominated by male chefs. For instance, in the US there is only 1 female executive chef to every 10 male executive chefs.

There is a machismo atmosphere in the professional kitchen. This is probably because traditionally men were the ones who have careers and salaries. Women may be the primary cook at home but they were not doing it to earn a living unlike men. It was in the 1980’s and 1990’s when women began to make their name in the cooking industry. They have proven their capability and able to run restaurants as head chefs but this does not make a difference to gender inequality in the professional kitchens. Women are still not advancing to top positions in the culinary field as much as men.

Women may not excel equally as men in professional kitchens but this does not mean that men are better cooks or more capable of being professional chefs than women. It is more of culturally generated gender roles which limit the way we view women and what they are capable of.

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