Social stratification is the structured form of social inequality within a ranked group of people that bring about unequal financial rewards, such as a person’s income, and power or property, which is brought upon by wealth in a society. The social stratification systems come in many different ways and forms. For example, slavery, castes, social class, race, and gender are just some of the issues that are affected by stratification. This essay will particularly focus on the issue of stratification by gender, or in other words, gender inequality.
Gender inequality or also known as gender stratification, is the unequal distribution of a society’s wealth, power, and privilege between females and males. (Scott and Schwartz, 2000). When the issue is approached, it is evident that the majority of the women are the oppressed as in turn the men being the oppressor. This idea of the oppressed vs. the oppressor is evident throughout history; even in religious terms, some can date back to God’s creation.
For example, in the Bible, God had caught Adam and Eve eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was forbidden. It is written in the Bible, “To the woman he (God) said, I will greatly increase your pain in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for you husband, and he will rule over you. ” (Genesis 3:16). Around the mid-nineteenth century until nowadays, three beliefs about women and men have prevailed as part of biology or evolution. One, men and women have different psychological and sexual natures, two- men are inherently the dominant or superior sex, and three – both male female difference and male dominance are natural. ” (Bem, 1993). Considering these three beliefs, women experience gender inequality in different environments, stereotypes, and occupations. For example, women are stereotyped to be only a stay at home wife and to be in an environment where they are responsible for cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and taking care of the children.
Nowadays, there are more women known to have jobs and not a stay at home wife, but yet they are still responsible, or show some responsibility for cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and taking care of the children. As for occupations among women, they experience the limitations of the occupations available. Women also experience less pay or earnings, and the devaluation of their work by society. An article, Social Class and Gender, written by Nancy Andes, expresses occupational stratification by gender inequality through the comparison of three theoretical frameworks or perspectives.
The first theoretical framework is the sex segregation model, which is where sex is the only characteristic that affects the placement of a worker into a profession or occupation. The second theoretical framework is the pure class model, which is where the workers’ position of determined by their status or position in the society and how much authority and ownership they possess. The third theoretical framework that is used is the integrated gendered social class model, which is where gender and class perform together that affect the positioning of women and or men in the labor force.
After Andes introduces the three theoretical frameworks, she explains each frameworks or approaches in depth, in relation to a table that expresses the earnings and occupations of men and women. The source of the table, or known as empirical evidence, is taken from the UC Bureau of the Census in 1989. The table expressed many different types of employment in the labor force. Within that employment of occupation, the table included the percentage of women within that occupation, women’s annual earnings within the occupation, and even the men’s annual earnings in that same occupation.
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