How Inequalities Are Created and Transformed in a Changing Society: South Wales

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Outline some of the ways in which inequalities have been made and remade in South Wales.| Word Count: 1,047|

This essay will be looking at how inequalities are created and transformed in a changing society. The observations and examples were taken from video interviews of people of South Wales, in particular Maerdy and Cardiff Bay in context of coal. As people are talking about how their lives changed over time from a coal industry driven community to present days without coal, inequalities begin to emerge. It is also clear that while some of these inequalities are now a thing of the past, new different ones have been created. The essay will outline three types of inequalities found in the analysed material and these are: gender, race and power/social status.

There were several examples of gender inequalities pointed out in the studied material. It is hard to imagine nowadays in our society that women could not work if they desired so. However, this was not the case in the 1970’s. In Maerdy (South Wales), majority of men worked in the mines and women were expected to stay at home and raise the family. Barrie Montague calls a colliery “a chauvinistic place” and says no matter how hard the things were some men would not allow their wives to go to work. They would rather struggle and live in poverty. Men were seen as sole providers for the family. This assumption changed when coal miners in the UK went on strike in 1984 and men were no longer bringing home wages. Many women, like Barbara Williams found themselves challenging their quiet housewives’ roles, getting involved in the strike movement by organising food donations and public protests, in support of their husbands and community. (Making and remaking social lives: in the presence of coal, 2009, scene 2) After the strike, coal mining was declining and women slowly started entering the workforce. This particular inequality has been abolished. In some cases, the roles have been even reversed....
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