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Gender

Inequality between man and woman has been a reoccurring issue and conflict

throughout the entire course of human history. Today, gender stratification is still portrayed in

society. It is not at a radical point in which we live in a patriarchal society, but being a man still

has many advantages that a woman doesn’t. Gender inequality is different according to

geography, because many cultures practice different traditions or beliefs towards the issue.

Although gender stratification is at a different extent by area, it is still a common pattern that is

noticed through out all societies.

Gender refers to the personal traits and social positions that members of a society

attach to being female or male. This definition proves that the views towards the description

and characteristics of each male and female differ from societies. There are many

distinguishable biological differences between men and women but I believe the ideas,

emotions, and characteristics associated with each gender is taught and influenced by the

society. Society has attached many distinguishable gender roles to each woman and man. Many

factors influence these gender roles such as media, peer groups, family, and even schooling. For

example, from the advertisements and movies seen on television, media shows women in the

domestic circle of society. Young girls are portrayed to play with baby dolls, cosmetics, and

cooking, while the young boys are portrayed to play with cars and sports. Psychologist Lori Day

continues to validate this theory in her article, “Media’s Shameless Role in Peddling Gender

Stereotypes to Children” by providing some of the main separations taught by media, from “pink

vs. blue, passive vs. aggressive, sedentary vs. active, and pretty vs. smart”(1). Throughout

history, family has also greatly influenced these gender roles by producing men in the hunting

and working field and keeping the women for the domestic house duties. This idea is portrayed
even through schooling and peer groups, where the boys are taught to play sports, while the

girls practice drawing, singing, and dancing.

The stratification between males and females are also reflected with income, politics,

military, and education. Women continue to gain more rights and share a lot more equality with

men in contemporary society, rather than decades ago. In 2010, the median earnings for men

working full time were $47,715, while it was $36,931 for men. This separation in income is due

to women taking more clerical and service jobs earning less of a wage compared to men.

Women held no position in politics nearly a century ago. Today, their importance in politics has

risen, but men still have a significantly higher rate in these affairs. As these rates prove, women

have gained a lot more significance in certain aspects of society in which they had no

importance years ago. Women rights can also be closely associated to which region they come

from and whether it is a country in poverty or a more developed country.

Gender stratification is visible and exists in all societies. Using the three sociological

paradigms, we can provide the significance that gender stratification plays on society. The

structural-functional approach views society as a complex system of many separate but

integrated parts. This theory believes that gender is helpful and needed in society as it organizes

different duties by each group. Also women and men come together in order to produce an

offspring and continue the cycle of life. The symbolic-interactional approach focuses on face-to-

face interaction in everyday life and the symbols we attach to them. This provides a basis to why

we associate certain gender roles with each gender. Also, the symbolism behind what activities

each gender is apart of. Patterns such as women taking their husband’s name after marriage

demonstrates how gender shapes the reality we experience in everyday life. Lastly, with a

social-conflict approach, gender involves a structural system of power that provides privilege to

some and disadvantage to others. This theory is validated through the traditional positions that
go along with men and women. This approach believes that conventional ideas about gender do

not make a society operate smoothly; rather it causes conflicts between each gender to gain a

higher position and significance in society.

Within all aspects of modern society, gender stratification exists and is clearly

portrayed. Women continue to gain their deserved rights as time passes, but some aspects will

continue to be correlated with each gender. Gender roles and traditions are examples of

different ideas that are attached to each gender. This stratification plays a significant role in

contemporary society and it is a conflict that can be seen visible on a daily basis in all societies

across the world.