Age and Inequality

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Age and Inequality


Material deprivation worse for older women and have less pension than men because they need time off for childcare and childbirth. Feminisation of elderly is due to longer life expectancy. Can link to ethnicity, some ethnic minority groups may not have occupatinal pension meaning they are more disadvantaged. 


Elderly are disadvntaged, due to high health care costs leading to elderly being seen as a burdern. EHRC say that middle aged women are at disadvantage because they struggle to care for two genertations ( children and elderly parents). Elderly males more likely to experience health problems - delaying of doctors, smoking and drinking elderly and divorced. 


Elderly experience ageism in the workplace. 1/5 workers experience ageism. Marx - the elderly and the young form an army of labour. 

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Age and Inequality - young people


Age Patriarchy - Gittins
legislation and rules to protect children and control their lives.

High levels of children living in poverty - 2.8 MILLION. 
They are paid minimum wage and they have large student loans and employment levels are low. 
High levels of unemployment can exclude young poeple from society. 
Also health implications of being young in poverty - mould causing health problems in damp conditions. 

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Age and inequality - functionalism

- The way that the elderly are treated is beneficial for society - the statutory age of retirement. It allows the workplace and society to be refreshed and allows young people to move into work.

PARSONS - Social cohesion will be achieved when every age group plays their role in society eg: adults / parents = role models, children learn from them. 

EISENSTADT - Different age groups learn to aquire new roles, which enable them to contribute to social cohesion and solidarity. eg: youth have status frustration in order to build identity. 

Position of elderly has improved in society however they have less power and status when their children leave home and they leave work. 


- age groups are not all the same 
social class has a huge effect on age inequality. 

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Age and Inequality - Marxism

BOND ET AL : The state pension can lead to some elderly relying on benefits as they do not earn enough in their lifetime to save a big enough pension. 

VINCENT - the elderly and the young form an army of labour in which they are easily hired and fired The UK uses the retirement age in order to hide unemployment levels. 

MACDONALD AND MARSH - Young people in deprived areas lack power and status and therefore lack jobs and wealth. 

Young fall into the cycle of consumer culture, because they have more disposable income they maintain the proletariat oppression. 


- growing number of elderly with disposable income it is not just young people. 

Class divisions between youth subcultures are 'fleeting, fragmental and fluid'

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Age and inequality - postmodernism

The age boundaries and differences are becoming blurred and unclear. 

PILCHER - the different phases of life courses have become blurred due to a post - industrial economy. 

MILNE ET AL - The wealthier and retired are described as having 'grey power' in which they are conscpicuous consumers. 

FEATHERSTONE AND HEPWORTH - Media conveying the 'stay young'  message and masking the stages of ageing meaning young people are encouraged to take on adult behaviour way too soon in life and children are becoming more alike. Social groups are disassociating with the stages of life. 


certain life choices arent availabl to all groups of people 

NAYAK - class, radical disadvantage , social and economic exclusion all impact youth leisure and culture. 

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