Gender inequality

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Gender inequalities

Gender inequalities exist in society within many aspects such as:


There can be gaps and divides between males and females which are reflected through different things such as pay gaps, legislation, statistics and life expectancys... 

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Gender inequality in the workplace...

There is currently a pay gap between men and women at 16.4% with women getting less pay than men within the same jobs. 
In the workplace there are two different types of segregation between men and women
 - Horizontal segregation 
    In which the men and women are employed in different occupational groups -
managers v receptionists
-Vertical segregation
  In which the men and women are in the same occupational job but at different levels within that   
  occupation - doctors v nurses

The workplace is experiencing a leaky pipeline, meaning the gradual loss of women in the high levels of occupation groups such as doctors and lawyers. 
Women in the workplace who are experiencing vertical segregation often experience a glass cieling in which they can see their potential oppurtunities and their goals but cannot reach them and many people also experience a concrete ceiling in which they are not told about the higher oppurtunities and therefore do not know they are even achieavable and carry on with their lower jobs. However, legislation exists to reduce the gender inequality within the work place eg: Equal Pay Act 1970  and 2006 Equality Act 

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Gender inequality in education...

There are many gender inequalities within the education system and the classroom...
Girls, particularly from ethnic minority groups do significantly better than the boys in the same classroom
but they are more likely to be disadvantaged in the social sense of schooling, excluding themselves by skiving and missing lessons. 
Boys dominate the classroom, they are loud and troublesome and occupy more space on the playground, however they are disciplined more than girls are therefore meaning that girls recieve less attention from their teachers and are at a disadvantage by not being pushed to their full potential.
Heaton and Lawson - state that the hidden curriculum is still obtained, in which subjects are categorised by gender, eg: cooking is for females, sport is for males, instructing a patriarchal society and maintaining the traditional value of women being housewives, Norman states that schools also use canalisation from a young age to reinforce behaviour. 

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Gender inequality in health

Department of Health
-Women have a higher life expectancy of 82 years old compared to 78 years old in men.

This may be due to the fact that men and boys take part in more risky behaviour and dangerous activities (edgework). Also the fact that older unmarried/ divorced men are more likely to drink and smoke which reduces life. 

The woman are in need of the health service more due to pregnancy, child healthcare etc... 

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Gender inequality - Functionalism

HUMAN CAPITAL THEORY - men and women have different roles and this is essential for society, expressive and instrumental roles eg: women are caring and motherly. 
Pay gap is justified as men having more 'human capital' than women because women are more likely to take career breaks and time off whereas men are more likely to stay at work longer and be more consistent. 

PARSONS - Women take on expressive roles eg: caring role 
Men take on instrumental roles eg: breadwinner. The differences are natural and innate. Women are less suited for the labour market than men are which is why men are more likely to work more and have a higher human capital. 


OLSEN AND WALBY - women face systematic disadvantage in acquiring human capital eg: sexism and dismissal of part time experience. 

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Gender inequality - Weberianism


primary sector of employment - well paid, good working conditions, work place benefits 
seondary secor of employment - poor conditions, low paid, no benefits 

Women are put into secondary sector and are at a disadvantage. 
They are stereotypically unsuitable eg: less financially stable etc.

They have to take time off for childcare etc 

There are weak legal and political framework around women. 


Work is traditionally and naturally patriarchal 
women will always be disadvantaged to men 
fails to explain inequities in the primary sector eg: teaching and vertical segregation. 

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Gender inequality and radical feminism

Patriarchal and male dominance is the reason for inequality of females in society. 

origin of male dominance is from their superior physical strength and dependency during child birth and child rearing. 

ADKINS - Evidence of male and female employees being given different roles eg: ride operators mainly male and catering staff female. Females were often subject to frequent sexual harrassment. 

STANKO - sexual harrassment is used in the workplace to keep women in their place and men use their power to keep their position. 


not all men sexually exploit women. 
patriarchy is a vague term. 

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Gender inequality and Marxist Feminism

Dual Systems Theory 

Womens unequal position is due to patriarchy and the capitalist system. 
Patriachal attitudes are justify womens sub employment ' women are meant for the home'

BENSTON - Women are used to benefit the capitalist economy by carrying out unpaid work eg childcare and housework. 

BEECHEY  - Women are a cheap army of labour and this reduces the wages of all work force members and allows heightened exploitation 


Does not explain horizontal segregation. 
Gender inequalities are second to class, to if class system ended then gender would too. 
if females are cheaper labour force then why havent they replaced male workers? 

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Gender inequality and liberal feminism

Gender role socialisation is the reason behind gender inequalities. 

Canalisation - children are socialised into their gender roles and expectations using toys and verbal appelations. Eg; little girls are given baby dolls and play kitchens and called princess whereas boys are given action men and tool sets and called soldier. Therefore, further social gender inequalties arise from this housewife expectation of women. 

However, they suggest that as of 1990's the gender processes are ending 
Found girls are more career motivated and find educational success rewarding, both partners accept equal responsibility. 

Fails to achknowledge class and ethnicity. 
Fails to explain why girls being more work motivated hasnt equalled the workplace. 

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Gender inequality and black feminism

WALBY - triple system theory. Racism, capitalism and patriarchy are all elements which combine to negatively effect the social position of black women. 

ABOTT ET AL - feminism is ethnocentric, it expresses the experiences of inequaity from a white womens point of view and this is not fair. 

BREWER - race class and gender all combine to create inequality, black women suffer most because they are black, working class and female which  means they are oppressed in every aspect. 

some aspects of patriarchy do not have sufficient evidence to support. 
The term patriarchy is used loosely to describe/explain inequality. 

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Gender and inequality - Rational choice feminism

HAKIM Women now have more choice and feminists exaggerate. Their portrayal of patriarchy is misleading. Women are not victims they make their own choices in society. Women have better work opportunities (more white collar employment). The contraception revolution has meant that choosing not to have children is also an option. Equal opportunities revolution ( equality act 2010). Female part time workers are not oppressed they are protected by law. 

Hakims work is provocative. 
falls in line with functionalists beliefs of gender roles.
BRUEGEL - deliberately understates the complexes of feminism and uses statistics to prove what she wants to be proven. 

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