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Economic and Gender Stratification of England – Essay

Free essayEconomic stratification refers to the societal condition in which various social classes are separated along the pre-existent economic lines. In every society, there are the impoverished and the wealthy as well as the mighty politically and the powerless who must always obey orders. In this regard, economic stratification basically refers to the circumstance in which meaningful gaps are noticed between the amount of wealth controlled by the rich and quite few instances in the transitional regions (Kornblum & Smith, 2008).

On the other hand, gender stratification basically refers to the social inequalities that exist between men and women living in a particular society. The existence of occupational segregation with regards to one gender is a factor that has attracted much attention, especially from the civil rights groups here in the Great Britain. This is a well-established fact and one that has grown consistently over time. In most instances, stratifications with regards to gender have been rampantly noticed in occupational areas where to an extent the degree of occupations held by both genders differs or may slightly differ. Most societies in the world today have various systems that are very clear on the stratifications that can result due to the gender of an individual.

These same systems have been practiced in Great Britain and, in most instances, the observation has been that there are inequalities involving these different genders of men and women in the kind of occupation they are in, various opportunities to which they are exposed to, and the chance each gender has in becoming a leader or powerful individual in the society. It is quite easy as well to discover various stratification systems that have been in use among the racial groups that reside in Great Britain.

In Great Britain, stratification has been practiced over time in various forms, which has led to the creation of various structures of ways of lives in the country. The analysis of its economic and gender stratifications is concerned with the understanding of how such inequalities arise in the first place, how they are maintained, various changes they undergo in time, and impacts they have on other aspects the country’s livelihood (Andersen & Taylor, 2006).

Different countries have different degrees of stratification and this, when perceived from the perspective of gender, may generate questions such as ‘whether the random distribution of jobs among men and women throughout the stratification hierarchy has any coherence on the real nature of the perceived expectations of each gender’. Or otherwise put, whether a poor person who has been graded due to his economic status perceives the hierarchical stratifications and the resultant gap of wealth that exists between the wealthy and the poor as the one which has a linkage to particular systems. Under stratification, the following is a likelihood of the nature of lifestyle structure that can be expected in any society regardless of its structure.

Systems of Economic Stratification

The macroeconomic level of analysis of stratification in its various forms takes into consideration the role that international economic systems play in the shaping up of person’s opportunities and resources. For example, in order for one to be able to fully analyze and comprehend the manner of socioeconomic inequality that exists in a country, particularly in Great Britain, it is crucial to understand the nature of livelihood for the poor. This can be achieved through undermining economic stratification in terms of two basic systems (Levine, 2006).

There are two main basic systems of economic integration. These include open and closed systems. In an open economic stratification system, the status that one has is achieved by them as they move up the status ladder. In this case, a person is granted with an opportunity to move from one socio-economic class to another. In the second case of closed economic stratification system, the status of an individual is determined on the ascribed status that is given at the time of birth. In general terms, this follows the caste system as practiced in India. In the UK, this system resembles that of the monarchy. With this system, there is zero mobility between social classes. This system also dictates the persons whom a person could get married to, their occupations’ entitlements, and the extent to which they could relate with other socio-economic classes (Blumberg, 1991).

Generally, the economic stratification system that is used by persons in gauging their livelihoods is what determines the poverty rates in Great Britain. Over the years, the only measure of relative poverty that has been most widely used and watched has been the individual proportions of households’ income. This is usually set and measured to a specific proportion, which is normally 60% of the expected contemporary median. For instance, in the data collected in the year 2009-2010, the number of those who were living below the poverty level in the UK alone remained constant even after the housing costs had been measured (Levine, 2006). While there have been strong growth levels over the years, this growth due to economic stratification systems is mostly enjoyed by those who are favored by better socio-economic statuses in the society. In most instances, the sustainability of the environment and the economic development strategies are given precedence, but only to the highly favored social class (Levine, 2006). The graph below shows one of the relevant data on the economic status of Great Britain from a look of the income basis. There is the stratification in the income levels and attainment of the same in the region.

Gender Stratification and Related Concepts

In examining gender stratification, examination of the structural-functional, symbolic analyses and social conflict is essential to be able to achieve desired study results. This helps in the identification of the manifested and latent functions of the gender differences that a society such as Great Britain may exhibit. The social-conflict analysis of gender in Great Britain identifies that there have been several inequalities within the society (Lipset, 2005).

Structural-functional Gender Paradigm

This is a framework that builds on a theory that seeks to explain that the society may be seen from a perspective of a complex system with its parts working together to achieve and promote stability and solidarity. Its major insight is the recognition of the fact that gender serves as a means of organizing life through forming complimentary set of roles linking men and women together in the carrying out of those tasks. As already discussed, there are instances when the gender is divided based on the availability of opportunities that exist in the economy. Comprehensive understanding of this aspect of gender stratification in Great Britain over the years calls for an understanding of the feminist perspectives as well as the social constructions of gender.

However, in studying gender stratification, it can be realized that in the modern industrialized societies such as Great Britain, the major hindrance that has been faced is the one that relates the gender-based stratification forms to the socio-economic class that a person is in. For instance, Great Britain during its pre-capitalist stages as a society considered the socio-economic class dimension as a relatively insignificant one and as such was built on the feminist perspectives. Its concept of patriarchy, which has been in existence for a longer duration of time, is therefore significant in the understanding of power structures in the society (Koput & Gutek, 2011).

Basing on the self-identification theory, also known as the cognitive development theory, it is possible to identify the behaviors that have been practiced over time by the agents of socialization in Great Britain. These may include the family, media, or school environment. One realized fact is that about 60% of women as the feminine gender are bread winners or co-breadwinners and make a large proportion of the work force in Britain (Kornblum & Smith, 2008).

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender Stratification in Great Britain

There are a number of concepts that are related to gender, which have been practiced in Great Britain. As stated earlier, gender stratification relates to the inequalities, which have existed between men and women with regards to the unequal distribution of the wealth of the society, the power, and the privileges that have risen throughout history. To an extent, women have been left out of various prestigious positions due to the gender factor and the belief that men can perform better than them.

The stratifications that are based on the gender issue share some of the features of other inequality dimensions such as those that are based on a person’s class, ethnicity, and caste. The caste system in particular has been largely used in Great Britain and even in its numerous colonies in different parts of the world such as it is used in India. According to gender stratification theorists who have sought to account for the differences in the privileges and powers in the society that are linked to gender inequality, it is extremely important to differentiate between women’s absolute measures such as secondary enrollment rates and the relative status such as ratio of male to female enrollment rate (Brym & Lie, 2010).

The core of gender stratification in Great Britain has been the relative status of women in the society, i.e. the status, which women hold in relation to that, which is held by men. Even though there have been several dimensions of gender stratification that have been aimed at trying to analyze the whole concept, it is prudent to identify that the same can be classified under various dimensions such as the economic status of women, their political statuses, their educational status as well as their autonomy and independence. All these dimensions are specific areas upon which construction and reconstruction of gender inequalities in the Great Britain society have been built up.

According to Lipset (2005), the attainment of economic power by women is the greatest indicator of the overall performance of women that has also been used to define status in the society. Great Britain as a region has tremendously undergone revolutionized change phases that have seen the society coming into terms with varied abilities of women in its society, for instance, the electing of women to powerful political positions in the UK. From researches that have been conducted before, it is true that a country’s economic development process has a a profound impact on the status of the women in the country economically. As a result, women often tend to have less access to economic resources than men, especially when these resources become available in connection with the economic development process. The effect of this on the government has been the implementation of structural policies that have different impacts on women and men (Lipset, 2005).

Basing on the livelihood of women in Great Britain, it has been observed that those who were able to get access to good employment opportunities, who had more autonomy and independence in the society, and who managed to gain a mileage in the attainment of political influence in the society have better and greater chances of being empowered in these aspects than those who have not. To this extent, one can make a conclusive note that women’s economic activity issues need much attention in the developed and developing nations, including Great Britain, even much more than it has been described in this analysis.

Conclusion

This study looks at the issues of economic and gender stratification and the related issues as have been practiced in Great Britain over years. While the major focus has been on identifying various aspects of economic stratification, the same has been incorporated together with gender stratification, which has seen the analysis focus on the inequality that has existed between men and women in the society. Issues to do with the economic activities of women need much attention and in this regard may have not been expansively explored in this paper (Brym & Lie, 2010). For a long time now, women have been engaged in activities, which were initially male-dominated, and are making a living out of the benefits from their toil. This should however, be improved to encompass all sectors of the economy, both formal and informal. There is also a change of the culture where women are now allowed and supported in seeking higher political offices in the region. It is prudent for all members of the society to realize that it is rightful to have women also benefit from the economic resources a country is endowed with, and as such making it possible for any economic barriers that have been created due to classes to be destroyed and have in place a system that ensures that no further economic stratifications exist between the two gender of males and females. Consequently, it has been established that the caste systems of social association as well as slavery are some of the ancient forms of stratification that were used in the past by most residents of Great Britain. This paper has also discussed various economic integration strategies that have been used in unifying the stratification issues, both economical and gender-based in Great Britain, thus ensuring that the same are not used to divide the society into various classes such as those of monarchy and patriarchy that have been in practice, particularly in the UK (Lipset, 2005).