Gender and Life Chances

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Gender and Life chances
In Britain

The purpose of this essay is to describe and evaluate how gender influences the life chances of individuals and groups within Britain today, particularly looking at the socialization process of gender and how particular ideologies of gender roles within different social institutions can create social inequalities through the use of power which can be achieved through justice, and applying different theoretical perspectives of inequality in reference to gender, and looking at those in authority that use their power to legitimize oppressive practices, in particularly against women into the formal structure of society and how this power in unequally distributed through stratification. There many interpretations of Life chance and gender, this is due to different ideologies from feminine, functional and Gender ideology. Aldridge, S (2004) suggests

“Life chances refer to the opportunities open to individuals to better the quality of life of themselves and their families. Other dimensions include the absence of poverty and social inclusion”ppt3

Therefore this definition suggest that there are opportunities available for individuals and families to improve their lifestyles, and suggests that this is possible if there is no poverty, and for people to be socially inclusive.

Lindsey L (1990) cited in Marsh et al (2000) states
“Gender involves those social, cultural and psychological aspects linked to males and females through particular social context. What a given society defines as masculine or feminine is a component of Gender”pg2

Lindsey L (1990) also states
“Sex is considered in light of the biological aspects of a person, involving characteristics which differentiate females and males by chromosomal, anatomical, reproductive, hormonal and other physiological characteristics”

Clearly there are clear distinctions between sex and gender that can be separated, that is to say gender is shaped by social factors, and biological sex is based on two distinctly sexes. Woodhouse (1989) cited in Marsh et al (2000) argues that culturally, assumptions are made for namely gender and gender appearance fit together, for instance a’ feminine’ dress sense symbolizing a pretty printed skirt would denote the female sex and a’ masculine’ appearance such as short hair, jeans and a rugby top represents male sex. Feminist contend that male stream theories are in adequate, in that they do not take into account women’s and men’s differences. Kessler S, McKenna W, (1978) cited in Holborn and Haralambos (2008) suggest that individuals sexes are allocated by others, this idea came about through the study of transsexuals – who appear biologically normal, nonetheless feel they belong to the ‘opposite sex’ some transsexual however not all have operations to alter their genitals. As a social worker it is important to have the understanding that heterosexuality is used as the standard in which; it as assumed that everyone is heterosexual unless proven otherwise, and any deviation from this is considered according to Thompson N (2000) is that they are considered to be abnormal, sick, morally corrupt and inferior, consequently heterosexuality is considered These ideologies are enforced through the media, by shaping meanings about gender and gender identity, Winship (1986) suggests that women and men’s lives are culturally defined in diverse way, the media reinforces stereotypes about gender, dominant gender ideology and gender inequalities, some examples of this are through the representation of women in the media through the ‘male gaze’ thus they are represented in ways to suit men’s interest and pleasure, however in contrast Gamman and Marshment (1988) cited in Marsh I, et al (2000)

On the December the 2nd the Guardian news reported that plans to force businesses to disclose the pay gap between male and female employees in Britain have been abandoned by the new coalition government, and since the...
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