Gender, income and wealth Essay
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Gender is a term that has been used many times to describe the different social roles that men and women play in the society. It is also used to explain the biological difference between a man and a woman. However, gender violence, whether on men or on women varies with different communities. Even up to date, there are some societies that still emphasize on the roles and tasks that only men or women can do. Scientific studies on the social life of humans have shown that we are the ones who create inequality amongst ourselves by defining the roles that we should take and leaving those that we don’t want to others.
Gender difference is however important because it gives the rights and privileges to both women and men. But if viewed from a negative perspective, gender inequality can be defied as a world wide problem.
Gender is one of the many determinants of what income a person should be given. In some countries, it is easy for men to get well paying jobs over women. This is especially the case in the developing countries; where the level of education does not really matter when it comes to job hunting. The situation gets even worse where the big jobs can only be given to the men because it is believed that they are better at decision making than women. Statistics have proved that 46 percent of all labor consists of women. However, women represent 75 percent of all the laborers with the lowest income or wages, and only 13 percent represent women of the best paid laborers.
The gender factor is also seen to take effect at many homes, where many people believe that a husband should be earning more than the wife. Many husbands feel inferior, especially when they are unable to provide for their families and the wives take on the role of the provider. They believe that they should be the heads of the family and should be in charge of the major activities, including making important decisions. The fact that wives should be submissive to their husbands should not be mistaken as a reason to be discriminated. In general we can say that the world is facing major challenges because of gender inequality. (Karuna Jaggar, 2007)
It is not so easy to measure the relation of gender to wealth. This is because most of the wealth is common within members of the same house hold, which consists of both a man and a woman. However, it is a fact that men are likely to own more assets than women. Women don’t normally own such investments as bonds, stocks or other financial assets as much as men do. Furthermore, most men have retirement accounts, while most women do not have such accounts, and in addition to that, the pensions of women in most cases are less than those of the men. The gender factor also shows that non married households are not as wealthy as the married households. Also, divorced women contribute more to the labor market as compared to the married women. Married women will feel financially secure because of their husbands, but after they are divorced, their economic condition is affected a lot. The same case applies to widowed women.
However, divorce does not have a big effect on the men as it has on the women, because they are always working so their wealth is not affected so much. Women who have never been married own the least wealth of all the house holds. They are said to own only a quarter of the wealth that the non married men own. From the late 1980s, the women initiatives have been helping the women to improve their financial security by advising them to start up small micro enterprises. The reason behind the start of the businesses is because they have very low start up costs, and are hence affordable to the women. Micro enterprises are competent, marketable, and require simple management by the owners. These businesses help women with low wealth and poor incomes to improve their financial status. (Karuna Jaggar, 2007) In general, we can say that gender inequality is a factor that is pulling the efforts to civilization behind and needs to be addressed.
1) Chang, Mariko, 2007, His and Hers: Explaining the Gender Wealth Gap, retrieved on 1/30/2009 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p109260_index.html
2) Edlund Lena, Kopczuk Wojciech, 2007, Women, wealth and mobility: National bureau of economic research, New York, Cambridge press
3) Karuna Jaggar, 2007, The Race and Gender Wealth Gap, retrieved on 1/30/2009 from http://urbanhabitat.org/node/2815