Why Does Gender Stratification Exist?

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‘Wrap Your Mind around the Theory’
Question: Why does gender stratification exist?

Throughout history, women have been regarded as of lesser value than men particularly in the public sphere. This is the result of gender stratification. Gender stratification refers to the issue of sexism, “or the belief that one sex is superior to the other” (Carl et al., 2012, p. 78). The theory that men are superior to women is essential to sexism. The negative consequences of sexism has led to the pursuit of successful careers by some women, normally considered as masculine, as something to avoid. Possible reasons for this could be they may be seen as less desirable as mothers or spouses in the private sphere.

The private sphere, known as the area of reproduction, includes everything domestic; washing, ironing, buying food, cooking, house maintenance, childcare etc. It is women who tend to be located in the sphere. The public sphere, known as the area of production, includes everything outside the home; education, politics, medicine, media, trades etc. It is men who tend to be located in this sphere. These areas signify the gender roles created to separate the sexes into the roles expected of them. Social and cultural conditioning (socialisation) is responsible for establishing male and female gender roles. The process of gender socialisation encourages traditional gender roles to be implemented in society which then reinforce and justify male dominance. Feminists believe that socialisation leads to gender inequalities as women are socialised into passive or subordinate roles and men into dominant ones. This essay will examine the views of functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism concerned with gender stratifica...

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...f that the gender division within society is working to the overall advantage of men. Equality for both genders is a goal that we as a society should strive to have more of, and I believe that men and women are extremely similar and have the same capacities, intelligence and the ability to think so gender divisions are a negative aspect of the way any society is run.

Carl, J., Baker, S., Robard, B., Scott, J., Hillman, W., & Lawrence, G. (2012). Think Sociology. Australia: Pearsons Australia.
Fiorentine, R. (1993). Theories of Gender Stratification: Assumptions, Evidence, and ''Agency'' and ''Equity'' Implications. Rationality and Society, 353. doi:10.1177/1043463193005003004
Lenski, G. (1966). Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. NY: McGraw-Hill.
Schwab, K. B. (2013). The Global Gender Gap Report. Switzerland: World Economic Forum.

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