Discuss The Nature Of, And Explanations For, Gender Inequalities In Society.

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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.

The department of education released figures showing how women in paid employment had increased from barely 40% in 1971 to well over 55% in 2001.

But why has female employment actually increased? From after the 2nd World War there was high demand for labour to rebuild Britain. Here, women entered factories and tended to remain there. During the 60's birth rates were falling and so women could return to work early. Slowly demand for entertainment and leisure also increased and women took u...

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...s 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.


A-level Sociology, 1995

Contemporary British Society, 2001

Francis Fukuwama, End of Order, 1997

John Williams, Sociology Review

Labour Force Survey, 1996

Oakley, The Sociology of Homework

Report, International Planned Parenthood Federation

Riddell & Gaskell, 1992

Study, Allan Guttmacher Institute
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