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Discuss the nature of, and explanations for, gender inequalities in society.

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Introduction

Discuss the nature of, and explanations for, gender inequalities in society. Gender inequality discusses how differences between males and females contribute to, or cause, social and cultural differences. Society has grown to have differences between men and women with greater emphasis of inequality on women. There is evidence to suggest that women generally tend not to work in skilled jobs in the construction and engineering sectors and few men working in secretarial positions (1996 Labour Force Survey) does this mean that men are more skilled than women. Early research and theorists assumed than inequalities were biologically determined and as a result this natural ability could not be changed. Female employment has tended to increase over the years and they form 44% of all wage earners, (A-level Sociology, 1995). Also, the passing of the legislation act in the 1990s ensured that an improvement, although not equality, in earnings for women. We, now, also tend to see women increasingly holding positions of importance (e.g. a female monarch and a recent female Prime Minister). Despite this women do tend to occupy the less well paid jobs with opportunities of a lesser degree to that of men, which is shown by the fact that few employers have amenities to facilitate female employees with young children. ...read more.

Middle

The bottom-line, so to say, in the education sectors argues that girls' formal achievement continues to improve. However, it does not explain why men continue to have greater earnings than women do, which is an important point to consider. It must, though, be taken into account that so-called 'woman problems' are given priority at schools and colleges, and not enough enough time or effort is given to realize 'male problems'. This leaves the males beleaguered. Also, males leaving schools have been greatly affected in terms of employment because the manufacturing industry is slowly becoming exhausted (where more males tend to work) and being replaced with service sector employment in retailing and/or care taking occupations. So in some ways it may be argued that women's roles in society may have been affected boys more than girls'. This, however, is too definite a statement to argue because there are many more points to consider. In some aspects boys are stereotyped by teachers, rather than girls, as 'trouble-makers' in classes. This often leads to discrimination of boys and evaluations by the teachers as problems with 'family backgrounds' or 'bad school records' etc. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other stereotypes such as the 'role of men is outside the house and women inside' together with other traditional viewpoints limit the occupational chances of women. And the fact that they do most housework despite working full-time are factors that contribute to the fact that families are not 'traditional' anymore, or to the fact that divorces in relationship are initiated by more women than men. This does not mean women are neglecting their children but the fact that men now see women as independent and more able to look after their children. And as Francis Fukuwama states (The End of Order, 1997) "the old obligation young men once felt for parenting is now replaced by a new freedom and irresponsibility. There is no deficit of mothers and motherhood; there is, however, a serious deficit of fathers and fatherhood". Why is this happening? Feminists want to resist any return to what they see as the repressive 1950s model, or to economic disincentives for women to work (John Williams, Sociology Review). They want more sharing of work, or home issues and duties. Other functionalists warn that 'female superiority', with reference to work in the home, means that men become almost irrelevant to the family thus changing their stance in society, which would in effect be a gender inequality with discrimination towards men. ...read more.

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