How can We Explain Gender Stratification
Over the years, all the research works on a topic of stratification have suffered from the particular blind attitude relating to the assigned role played by gender differences. However, gender on its own can be named one of the striking examples of general stratification concept. There is no society where women have influence, effects, and status greater than men do in some spheres of the social life (Parsons, 1965). Gender stratification is a process whereby gender becomes a basis of a social stratification just as gender differences become systematically appreciated. The following essay will cover a position of gender stratification, its meaning in a capacity of a general gender system, operating with such relating concepts as gender, gender roles, and gender socialization, paying attention to stratification as one of the significant forms of a social stratification process.
Gender socialization is a part of a complex socialization process. However, if socialization meaning is considered, on the one side, as a process of integration and adaptation of a person in society, and on the other one, as a process of self-development and self-realization in the same society, it is necessary to take both of these tendencies into consideration in studies of a gender socialization process. Gender socialization is a process of digestion of those rules, norms, and establishments as consistent with a sociocultural concept of role, position, and destination of a man and woman in society (Blumberg, 1984). Consequently, gender socialization includes two integrated processes. Firstly, it is the individuals’ understanding and adoption of concrete social experience, psychosexual suggestions and value systems, defined ways of behavior and activity, inherited by representatives of one or another gender. Secondly, gender socialization is an important process of forming a gender apperception – gender identity. Thus, gender socialization begins from the moment of birth as it translates a concept of role qualities to children. In the adoption process, everyone can meet a greater meaning of lifelong stereotypes about men and women. These stereotypes have been formulated for years, redounded to the understanding of the concept of masculinity and femininity as a part of stratification process.
Particular sets, containing summarized information about those qualities, which are usual for one or the other gender, are called gender roles. Constantly, it is one of the social roles of each individual. Gender role is a kind of normative regulatory prescriptions, related to the belonging of this individual to one or the other gender, and the accomplishment of those roles is satisfied by the status of a man or a woman (Beyer, 1999). As it has been admitted in the majority of scientific works for the last several years, gender role is a whole complex of roles, so-called sex-role repertory. Therefore, each of them has its regulatory prescriptions, behavior patterns that are different from specifications and social expectations of the other roles, belonging to the same repertory. The other word, gender role is a differentiation of activity, statuses, rights, and duties of individuals that depend on the individual’s gender identity. Thus, gender role is a kind of normative social roles that express some certain expectations and behavioral norms. At the cultural level, gender roles exist in a context of a whole system of gender symbols and stereotypes related to the concept of femininity and masculinity. Gender roles are always connected with a normative system of gender socialization. Perhaps, it is possible to speak about different kinds of gender socialization by means of the perspective of gender stratification and by gender roles – professional, family, and sexual ones. Multidimensionality of gender socialization presupposes the existence of numeral social institutions, causing their influence over socialization agents. In it turn, the contest of the socialization agents is different at different stages of socialization in its influence and value.
Gender sociology always operates with such concepts as gender differentiation, gender role, gender stratification, and gender stereotypification. Gender stratification is a process as the result of which, a gender, as a key factor between men and women, becomes the basis of a social stratification. Commonly, the scientists distinguish three forms of social stratification: economic, political, and professional one. It is important to add another important type – gender stratification. Gender stratification is a kind of social inequality based on the differentiation of labor according to the sexual character (Huber, 1993). The theory of gender stratification considers gender inequality in the assignment of social benefits and responsibility, giving an answer the questions, concerning the production of economic recourses and sexuality regulation. According to the position of famous sociologist and anthropologist Joan Huber (1993), gender stratification is the form of social stratification that directly depends on biology but that cannot be explained with the help of biology only. Thus, all the forms of stratification make an integrated system of the social stratification.
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Summing up, one should say that modern society has strong class differences that are much more meaningful than gender differences. The financial situation of a modern woman reflects the status of her father, husband. Therefore, the explanation of gender stratification concept through the class position was actual and valid. The point of view when class differences were the defining axiom of gender stratification has been the most meaningful one for a long time. Now, this statement becomes a central subject of heated discussions and debates. However, gender sociology should help to decide the problem of gender inequality and other problematic questions arising in modern society through the position of gender socialization, gender roles, and stratification. One of the numerous limits, preceded by gender and stratification researchers, involves the following: the effect of gender differences on a division into classes. Thus, this research question is the next key point to be well investigated, as far as gender differences have deeper class roots than class systems: men occupied a privileged position even in the times of ancient hunters and gatherers, which was in classless societies.