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Essay on Gender Stratification

Gender stratification and gender inequality are words used interchangeably as they both refer to a greater social standing of one gender over the other. Usually, the male gender always has a greater social ranking than the female gender. Gender stratification is evident in both first-world countries and even third-world countries, though not to the same extent. Women have been disadvantaged in many ways, but some movements advocate for equality. Still, they have not been able to achieve this on a global scale due to the varying differences in cultural aspects of different countries.

Gender stratification is evident in some cultures, such as in education. Many countries do not offer girls and boys the same access to education, which is in less than 40 percent of the countries in the world. In addition, 30 percent of all countries have equal proportions of girls and boys attending secondary school. With this, women have accounted for two-thirds of the literate adults as they are denied the chance to attend school. Also, many cultures in the world prioritize male education over female education. With this, women do not get to understand the rights that they are entitled to, which furthers gender stratification. With unequal rights, women are more vulnerable to violence than men. One form of violence that exists today is spousal rape. Rape laws have been changed in India to exclude married couples, and this exposes women to sexual violence.

Furthermore, in many countries, especially developing countries, customary and religious laws do not support the ownership of land by women even when their constitution advocates for equal rights. When the parents are dividing up the land, they do not allocate women a piece of land as they will be married and relocate to their husband’s property. Moreover, gender stratification has become more prevalent in the workplace and in different professions. In the workplace, positions of power are majorly held by men, and the pay is also different for them. Women receive less in wages than men do. Men hold high-paying professional careers such as engineering, and even when there are women in their midst, they do not hold the title of plant operator, which men have always held. With the low representation of women in the labor force, women are denied economic independence. When women get married, their careers are thrown out, and they have to work building a home for their families.

In some countries, women are not allowed to get out of their marriages and are forced to stay in abusive marriages for traditions put in place do not support divorce. Even when they have been abused, an eyewitness must be willing to come forward to court, and many times people turn a blind eye and see fault in the woman. In addition, women do not have the freedom of marriage as some countries in Africa and south Asia have forced women to get married by the age of 18, and some even get married at a younger age. Without freedom of marriage, women have no say in who they get to be married to. They have been involved in arranged marriages where their parents chose for them their partners. When they disagree, in Pakistan, they are killed, and this is referred to as honor killings, and the government does not interfere. Furthermore, in countries such as in the middle east, divorce rights are discriminatory for men are viewed as superior. Therefore, they can divorce women more easily than women can divorce them. They can do this by denouncing their women orally.

Women are less represented in politics and in government offices which influences lawmaking. Looking at the laws on abortions, men are voting for or against this, but women should have the right to decide for themselves which way is better. Also, women have been allowed to join the military in recent years, but they are not allowed to participate in frontline combat as this is seen as work that men can handle better.

The social mindset of different countries has influenced gender stratification, and this is majorly the cultural norms, values, and religious beliefs. Society determines the different roles that women and men play, and they are not equal, enhancing gender stratification. In middle eastern countries, women face stratification as men are seen as superior even with the developments happening; certain things are unacceptable for women to do, such as driving which impacts their mobility. Religious beliefs on the role of women in marriage impact their marriage freedom and thus enhance abusive relationships as it is seen as a sin for a woman to divorce her husband.

Furthermore, the political orientation of many countries has influenced gender stratification. Most people in political seats are men, and therefore they are not quick to enforce laws that will enhance gender equality. Women cannot air their issues in congress seating or parliamentary debates since they are the minority. In addition, lack of access to education has caused the illiteracy levels to be high, and therefore women are not majorly participating in economic progress. With high levels of illiteracy in women, they do not participate majorly in their high-paying jobs and are unable to advocate for their rights in one voice. When women do not have jobs, they lack economic independence and thus cannot provide for themselves without men, which enhances gender stratification. Therefore, they cannot access good medical care or even sanitary pads in some African countries. With minimal economic independence, they cannot partake in discussions that affect their lives. Thus they continue suffering in marriages, cannot attend school to further their education to get better employment, and cannot participate in politics to bring agendas that will reduce inequality.

Gender stratification is evident in my society as women are underrepresented in the political arena. Many people campaigning and holding political positions are women; thus, there are very few advocates of women’s rights in the government. Apart from political positions, women working in positions of power in the government are very few. Not only are there few women in positions of power in the government, but there are also few women working in prestigious positions in many corporations. Few women have been appointed CEO and COOs of the various company in operation. Gender stratification is also evident in the high esteemed professions such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, and accountants. Men mainly hold these positions, and a very few percent, less than twenty percent, are held by renowned women in those fields.

Gender roles and stratification can change. Back in the 19th century, women’s lives were private, that is, dedicated to household chores and the homestead, while men’s roles were in the public sphere, managing businesses and working in governments. However, with the industrial revolution that required many people to work, women were brought out of their homes and into the factories, where they earned wages and participated in economic development. With this, we can note that with economic development and the integration of various nations, gender roles can be changed. Developed economic countries have women and men working alongside each other, unlike in less developed nations. When economies grow, more changes are available for women to work, become economically independent, and even participate in the political arena, therefore changing gender roles and doing away with gender stratification. In addition to this, when women are more economically independent, it is possible to see more women accessing education and reducing the illiteracy levels that they have been experiencing. Forced marriages can be a thing of the past as women, with their economic independence, do not have to be subordinate to men and can choose their partners.

Furthermore, with the growing number of human rights activists, especially on equality, gender roles have changed, and more women have been granted good-paying jobs. In addition, women have also held positions of power in government and private, and public companies as the women’s rights advocates have pushed for laws that ensure equality in the working place and a certain representation of women in the working places. Laws have also been enacted that advocate for equal access to education, increasing access to education for women and thus removing women from the private sphere of life and into the public sphere.

Work Cited

Soken-Huberty, Emmaline. “10 Causes of Gender Inequality.” Human Rights Careers, 2022,

Staff Reports. “10 Examples of Gender Inequality in the World.” BORGEN, 2017,


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