21st Century Young Couples Ideologies: Traditional versus Egalitarian

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type




First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


For as long as society can remember, traditional gender roles have benefited the patriarchal world. In heterosexual relationships, are the ideologies and practices of traditional or egalitarian relationship dynamics and expectations. There is also a rise of couples moving in together before marriage - also known as cohabitation. There is little research done on whether college students are cohabitating and as to why they are cohabiting. There is also a lack of research about young college students in heterosexual relationships and their gender roles, gender practices, and gender beliefs within their relationships. This study consists of students in a liberal arts college from Southern California, who are the next generation that may give a small glimpse into the gender role expectations in heterosexual relationships. I argue that college students in heterosexual relationships will intertwine egalitarian gender values with traditional gender values, as college students tend to be more educated on gender inequalities. The study looked upon gender ideologies within their relationships and existing and/or future children, cohabitation, and the housework division of chores. The study conducted an online anonymous questionnaire surveying 69 college students at all college grades. Qualitative and quantitative questions were used to create charts and graphs to understand the complexity of the dynamics of a heterosexual relationship. Results: 97.1% of students who participated believed in gender equality, only 11.6% of students live together with 41.3% plan to live together. For those who do live together, 62.5% have equal household chores; of those who responded not having an equal household chore, females were more likely to report this. It is to be seen that less than a quarter of the participants still believe and implement a traditional dynamic in their heterosexual relationships. Men have a higher percentage in still believing in traditional relationships. Conclusion: The results were consistent with my argument, in that the majority of students have more egalitarian values and have a household with more equal chore division. The small portion that does believe in traditional relationships tend to be males. There is some correlation between race, gender, and gender ideologies as there seems to be a difference in the gender responders between Hispanics and Whites. It seems to be that women of color and White males tend to believe or practice more traditional values. The current and emerging generation of college students are more egalitarian than traditional in ideology and in practice. With the sample collected, a small percentage of college students in heterosexual relationships live together. The major reasons for cohabitation were due to the pandemic of COVID-19, it was the next step into their relationship, and for convenience. Limitations: Only one college was involved, and the population collected was small.

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