• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Despite recent optimism, gender inequality persists in Australian society.' Evaluate the extent of gender inequality in Australia, citing examples from within politics, the law, workforce, the household and education.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'Despite recent optimism, gender inequality persists in Australian society.' Evaluate the extent of gender inequality in Australia, citing examples from within politics, the law, workforce, the household and education. Gender is not simply a case of dichotomous oraginisation. It is also used as a basis of inclusion and exclusion, of inequality of life chances, of restriction of choices, and for relationships which reflect power and powerlessness (Furze and Stafford, 1994: 247). Women in general are in a socially inferior position to men, although both men and women have access to a range of positions. The ranking of women as inferior to men leads to the former having more restricted opportunities for social interaction. Inferiority of social position is manifested in the things that women do being valued less than the things men do. Women are expected to defer to men in social contexts. Men have greater access to means of coercion in order to enforce their will through both physical and symbolic violence. Women are permitted to compete in male arenas on masculine terms, and these terms inevitably define women as 'second best (Furze and Stafford, 1994: 247).' Stratification by gender was once legitimised by reference to the complementary roles of women and men. Women were responsible for the emotional or expressive side of life, and men were responsible for the breadwinning, or instrumental side of life. ...read more.

Middle

In Australia, as in other industrial countries, the workforce was highly segregated by sex, with women being concentrated in the 'female' areas of clerical sales and service work, and men dominating in administration, politics, trades, transport, technical, and primary industry work (Newman, 2000: 462). Recent analyses indicate that the lines between men's and women's work are blurred. While women are found in a much wider range of occupations then before, and men are found in the upper rankings of women's work, the majority of work is still gender typed (Newman, 2000:463). The education system is a major focus for attempting to change gender patterns. However, in the past the curriculum was based at least partly on the expectation that girls and boys would grow up to different adult roles; the curriculum reflected this. Boys were taught the skills that would take them into a career of some kind, and most girls were taught domestic skills (Spencer, 1979: 403). Equal opportunity for girls in schools has been on the educational policy agenda since the publication in 1975 of the Schools Commission Report. The report drew attention to the ways in which the existing system disadvantaged girls, resulting in a waste of skill and talent for society, as well as frustration for individuals. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another area in which gender has had an impact on the law, with the legal system being involved in regulating gender relations, is the manifestation of patriarchal power in domestic violence and sexual assault. The incidence of these types of crimes is difficult to establish because, until recently, both have been considered 'private' relationships (Bilton and Bonnett, 1984: 132). Masculine aggression has been socially approved, provided it is channeled through sport and war, where it is directed towards other men. Changes in women towards greater independence and assertiveness have been met by men with some confusion and uncertainty. The protective response is no longer considered appropriate, but new forms of mutual respect are still being negotiated. Older explanations of gender inequality drew on the concept of 'natural difference.' Masculinity and femininity were seen as naturally and desirably different and complementary. Boys and men were supposed to be 'naturally' more ambitious and aggressive, with protective instincts. Girls and women were 'naturally' more deferential, more concerned with being pleasant and attractive. These qualities were seen as desirable, if not innate. It is now more acceptable for western women to have careers as well as children, and to be ambitious and compete with men on masculine terms. However, for most women this is still not possible. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Gender oppression and how this manifests in education and society.

    Different attitudes can develop by the types of toys that children are given to play with from an early age. Girls may be given dolls to play with which reinforces the stereotype of women as carers. Boys tend to be more active and this can reflect on their attitudes in the classroom.

  2. Diversity - Gender and education Factors such as ethnicity, economic status and gender can ...

    that ultimately leads to their dissociation from subjects traditionally determined as feminine such as literacy. However, many non-feminist commentators suggest that the high proportion of female teachers at primary level is responsible for boys learning needs being overlooked. Their suggested solution to the gender gap is to increase the number

  1. Determining the Elite within Politics and the Judiciary.

    Although this broad definition is not without flaws, when referring to a large number of individuals it does at least give a reasonable indication of market situation at birth and the life chances that may be available. The main lines of division in this essay will be upper class, middle class (sometimes divided into upper middle-class and lower middle-class)

  2. Gender Capital ? - Bourdieu and Gender Inequality

    For Marx the relationship to the 'means of production' was the key to all social relations, informing all other areas of life; the political, social, cultural and intellectual spheres. Marx also believed that the past has a direct affect on how the present is experienced; 'men make their own history,

  1. Compare and Contrast two major theories of Social Inequality- Can Inequality be eliminated?

    Davis and Moore acknowledge that there are perhaps socially unequal jobs yet they are all important for society to function. Thus to maintain society each role needs to be filled so 'effective role allocation' is an essential functional perquisite. However as some jobs require more skills and training than others

  2. Briefly outline one major inequality which exists in the UK today. Analyse and discuss ...

    The family is therefore complimentary with women being the 'chosen' bearer of children, and men the providers. Whilst the theory of functionalism has not been proved or disproved Parsons suggests "that the basic and irreducible functions of the family are two: first the primary socialisation of children so that they

  1. Conjugal roles within the modern household

    informants; rejection of the role would have meant rejection of gender and identity as well. This study was done nearly 30 years ago and I will see if there have been any changes in the households' conjugal roles since then.

  2. Assess sociological explanations of gender difference and gender inequality in society.

    Webarian sociologists Barron and Norris have argued how the dual labour market theory, which supports the idea of gender inequality in society, since both sectors are found to have differing genders.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work