Gender stratification refers to the dissimilarities between males and females concerning privilege, supremacy, and affluence. In most societies, gender is usually a communally organized principle, representing the unequal division between women and men. An excellent example of gender stratification is the number of females is always fewer than the number of men in most political systems. Men have more power than women because mayors, senators, and members of Congress are men in most societies. This paper explores the manifestation of gender stratification in society, the factors influencing gender stratification, and the potential for a change in gender stratification and gender roles.
Gender inequality remains a contentious issue in many societies worldwide. Societal stereotypes significantly influence how people perceive gender roles. Case in point, interactive associations influence gender because most people espouse retrogressive beliefs about various tasks and social settings. For instance, in most households, women are less likely to make decisions in political gatherings and are less likely to hold supervisory or managerial positions. When they do, their ranks have less authority than if men were in the same situation. Equally, in most households, even if both partners are working, women still perform twice as much housework as men. Gender stratification occurs because of the cultural frame that some duties, such as child care, are meant for women and not men. In many cultures, for instance, women are often viewed as more communal and men as more authoritative, affecting their societal position.
Religious beliefs are some of the factors contributing to gender stratification. Gender inequality is particularly dominant in countries with strict religious doctrines, such as Arab states. In such regions, religion creates more patriarchy, whereby men have more power over women. Similarly, in Roman Catholic churches, popes and priests are always men. This shows that religion promotes gender stereotypes, creating social structures in which women play minority roles while men dominate. Likewise, the division of labor is another factor responsible for gender stratification. Labor in most countries is characterized by the division of work in that tasks are allocated to people based on gender. Additionally, women tend to earn less compared to men, even in positions where they perform the same functions.
Uneven access to education is a factor influencing gender stratification. The disparity in access to education between men and women creates inequality in terms of job opportunities and income. This explains why women tend to lag regarding economic status, as they lack the adequate level of education to qualify for specific jobs. People who are not well educated and still believe in traditional gender stereotypes will prolong gender inequality existence. For example, in educational institutions, girls have often been discriminated against no matter their efforts to acquire equal education as men (Cerrato and Cifre 6). Teachers will encourage female students to pursue specific courses because they are better suited for their gender. Indeed, this can be seen in the higher number of girls in nursing and hospitality courses compared to the lower number in technical and science courses. At the same time, girls get fewer participation opportunities if they are younger than their male counterparts. As a result, men develop gender stereotypes that not all prospects are suited for women.
The lack of proper legal protections for women is another factor causing gender stratification. While many countries have laws against domestic violence, most women are not protected against sexual harassment. Cases of sexual harassment and assault have been reported in various places, including at work, home, and school. Some men in positions of power take advantage of women and will request sex in exchange for favors such as promotion or salary increase. Those arrested for such crimes often use intimidation tactics to force the victims to drop the cases. Sometimes, perpetrators are arrested for a short while and freed, posing a threat to the rest of society. Accordingly, rape cases remain on the rise because criminals are aware of the loopholes in the justice system.
Gender stratification is evident in my culture, especially in terms of the wage gap between men and women. Issues such as the gender pay gap arise because of the views that men tend to do more demanding tasks compared to women. This corresponds with the perception that women work best in caring roles that are not energy-demanding. It is apparent in my society that top occupations such as sales workers, managers, and politicians are men, while women selected top occupations are elementary and middle school teachers and secretaries. Girls from low-income families face early marriages, unrecognized domestic work, and sexual violence leading to unwanted pregnancies. This is due to the factors such as religious beliefs and norms whereby people believe in societal expectations for every gender. Consequently, women in my society are pushed to be homemakers, whereas men are compelled to be breadwinners. Despite this, I firmly believe changing gender roles and gender stratification is possible.
It is possible to change how society defines gender roles appropriate for each sex. In the contemporary world, women have pursued different careers deemed for men, which shows that gender roles can be changed. For example, in the past, activities such as cooking were left to women, but today, men have proved to be good cooks and chefs. Similarly, women have studied careers such as engineering and law and have excelled in other areas such as medicine and research. Among Native Americans in North America, some women have wealth and property and are bold and independent. This could not have been possible several decades ago, particularly in indigenous communities where patriarchy thrives.
Furthermore, social norms are changing, and men have engaged in altering gender norms. Individuals’ social models related to men’s behaviors and ideas have been examined in several settings to learn to live a gender-equitable life. As a result, men’s conceptions of gender can change, and many men are already taking part in this transformation. Several organizations, especially non-governmental organizations (NGOs), encourage women’s empowerment, suggesting that people will adjust in terms of gender roles with time. Research has focused on advancing gender equality and raising awareness through a social change in recent decades. Together with the women’s movement globally, gender roles can change worldwide.
To conclude, this paper has shown that gender stratification arises from many factors, including societal stereotypes, lack of legal mechanisms to curb the problem, uneven access to education, and religious beliefs. Overall, these influences work together to create systems that reinforce gender disparity in most societies. Thus, boys grow up believing they are better than girls in all social domains. Even though this is the case, activism and education outreach can still change societal thoughts regarding gender roles.
Cerrato, Javier, and Eva Cifre. “Gender inequality in household chores and work-family conflict.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 9, 2018, pp. 1330.