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How do issues of inequality inform analyses of women(TM)s position in the labour market?

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Introduction

How do issues of inequality inform analyses of women's position in the labour market? By Zhamilya Azerbayeva Wikipedia defines gender inequality as "obvious or hidden disparities among individuals based on performance of gender". The development of feminism had led to attention being focused on the subordinate position of women in many societies. Many feminists put more emphasis on the position of women in the labour market as an important source of female disadvantage. Both Marxist feminists and liberal feminists see employment opportunities as crucial to understanding gender inequalities. Liberal feminists aim to combat the gendered division of labour. They believe that women as individuals deserve the right to pursue their interests without any barriers halting such progress. They want to bring about changes in existing systems that will allow women to progress to their desired occupation. However it can be argued that they are combating the problem in the wrong way. Instead of changing current systems and barriers in the law they need to seek out the major root of the problem which, many sociologists claim, is the upbringing and socialisation of children. Minimising gender divisions at an early age will minimise the future gendered division of labour. ...read more.

Middle

In 1970 women earned only 63% on men's hourly rates, and only 55% of men's gross weekly pay. In 1997, women working full time earned 81% of men's hourly rate, but those women working part time only earned 59% of men's hourly rates. Thus the size of the gap has been closing steadily for those working full time, but not for those working part time. The issues of inequality have been the debated topic due to growth of feminist movements and attracted attention to studying of inequalities in the workforce. Nowadays, many sociologists are doing research and provide statistical data and analysis of different attitude towards male and females at the labour market. Marxist feminists have a strong position on why there is a gender inequality in the workforce. They argue that capitalism requires a 'reserved army of labour' which in Britain, according to Veronica Beechey, consist of women. She points out that women's position within the family and the primary importance placed on their domestic role, women are more likely to accept part-time jobs and variations in their hours of work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women often chose to take career breaks or to work part-time because they wish to combine work with raising a family. Since they are likely to abandon or interrupt their careers at an early age, women have fewer incentives to invest their time in undertaking lengthy programmes of training or education. They are therefore of less value to employers than their more highly trained and more skilled male counterparts. Similarly, on average women will have less experience of their jobs than men because they are less likely than men to be in continuous employment for many years. This makes it difficult for women to be promoted to higher status and better-paid jobs. Once again, women are paid less than men because they are worth less to the employer. Their lack of training, qualification and experience, which all result from the demands of childcare, create disadvantage for them in the labour market. To sum up, both alternative views on the origins of women's inequalities in the workforce - feminists opposed to functionalists, prove the fact that the gender inequalities on the workforce exists. Even though due to the introduction of Equal Opportunity Act and Equal Pay Act the situation for women is getting much better, the problem is still relevant. ...read more.

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