CBC Digital Archives

Man Alive: Teens and gender roles

It was religious programming that didn't preach. When Man Alive debuted on Sunday afternoons in 1967, its non-denominational, magazine-style approach differed from any other religion-based program in CBC history. After two seasons, the CBC-TV program moved to a weeknight, becoming North America's only prime time program focusing on religious issues. Over the years, Man Alive featured an eclectic range of topics — from marriage, to apartheid, to UFOs. Roy Bonisteel was host from 1967 until he retired in 1989, after which hosts included Peter Downie, Arthur Kent and R.H. Thompson, who hosted until the program's end in 2000.

The traditional view of gender roles in marriage is simple - men go out and work; women stay home and do housework. But by 1973, these ideas are starting to change. Many young men and women are beginning to "break out of stereotyped roles which are no longer valid," explains host Roy Bonisteel. In this 1973 episode of Man Alive, sex educator Mary Calderone talks to six teenagers about their views on marriage, gender roles and sexual relationships in the 1970s.
 • With the emergence of feminism in the 1960s and 70s, more and more women began entering the paid workforce. According to a 2006 Statistics Canada report, "most of the growth in female employment in the past quarter century ... took place during the late 1970s and 1980s." Between 1976 and 1990, the proportion of women in the paid workforce rose from 42 per cent to 54 per cent. By 2006, 58 per cent of all Canadian women over the age of 15 had paying jobs. • The same report showed a dramatic increase in the employment rate for mothers. In 2006, 73 per cent of all women with kids under 16 worked outside the home. In 1976, that number was just 39 per cent. For Canadian women with children under the age of three, 64 per cent worked outside of the home in 2006, compared to only 28 per cent in 1976.

• Since the late 1990s, numerous reports have shown that despite more women in the workforce, women still tend to do the lion's share of the housework. A 2006 Statistics Canada report revealed the same findings - but it also showed that Canadian men have been slowly increasing their participation in housework. The proportion of men who did some sort of housework daily rose from 54 per cent in 1986 to 69 per cent in 2005. For women, that number remained fairly steady at around 90 per cent.

Medium: Television
Program: Man Alive
Broadcast Date: Jan. 15, 1973
Guests: Patricia Gracie, Richard Hajdukiewicz, Caroline Peck, Judy Pollak, Larry Ricci, Sidney Zucker
Host: Roy Bonisteel
Moderator: Mary Calderone
Duration: 27:21

Last updated: March 3, 2014

Page consulted on March 3, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Splitting Up: Canadians Get Divorced

Having concrete proof of adultery was once the only way to get a divorce in Canada. That meant...

Cold Cases: Unsolved Crimes in Canada

They are the heartwrenching stories that shock whole communities, bringing waves of fear and s...

1971: Women react to news of Trudeau's marria...

The Trudeaumania bubble bursts as the eligible bachelor announces his secret marriage to Marga...

Love and War: Canadian War Brides

Surrounded by falling bombs, strict rationing and nightly blackouts, a generation of young wom...

Life after the Munsinger affair

Munsinger lives the rest of her life in relative obscurity.

Black Berry, Sweet Juice

Lawrence Hill talks about racial identity in Canadian children of mixed marriages.