Systems of Oppression in Society

1410 words (6 pages) Essay in Sociology

08/02/20 Sociology Reference this

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We live in a society that continues to produce and reinforce systems of oppression around the world. These systems have continued to build hierarchal differences between the gender, race and economic status of the people within a society. The power certain systems such as capitalism hold uses gender, race and class to favor certain groups to an extreme which acts as further disadvantage to the people who are neglected. The inequality that is present in these systems is what makes certain groups more inclined to poverty.

Throughout history, there has been much research done about the inequality between women and men. Women of all races have been significantly disadvantaged in numerous societies due to the male dominated world that is actively being reinforced by the system of capitalism with the support of the government. In an article about the difference between union women and men it is mentioned how “Collective bargaining has narrowed but not eliminated the gender gap in pay, which remains substantial. On average, union women earned $2.77 (13.4 percent) less per hour than equivalently qualified union men in 1997 (Drolet 2001) plus an unquantified difference in fringe benefits (Currie and Chaykowski).”[1] Even though both male and females are doing the same work and are equally qualified, females are still being offered less than males. Males are favored so much more, they not only got payed more but they also got offered benefits which females did not get. This is just one of the many examples which can put females at more of a disadvantage. Another example would be of the gender gap and inequalities present in an article about Pakistan. “Gender gaps and gender inequalities are the defining characteristics of Pakistan’s slow-moving economy plagued by structural patriarchy. Despite tall claims professed by political parties for eradicating gender gaps and poverty, gender inequalities and poverty not only persist but also run parallel to one another.”[2] Gender inequalities places women at a lower place than men. Men are given so many opportunities and benefits to prosper and succeed whereas all women get are numerous disadvantages, struggles and hurdles coming in their way, they have to be more worried about surviving than succeeding.

The society we reside in reinforces the notion of social class differences. “The wealthy elite use the power they wield through democracy and capitalism to gain more of the valuable resources available (Beeghley, 2000) and then do whatever it takes to keep those resources and stay in power (Mar 2000).”[3] This system promotes the idea that everyone is getting the fair amount of advantages and opportunities to make money but that is not the case. Our society favors those who have wealth and tries to eliminate job opportunities or only offers jobs that no one would want and thus lower-class individuals who need to survive are left with no choice but to work in highly dangerous situations. Class inequality has led lower class groups with no jobs, or jobs with lower wages which pushes these individuals towards the poverty line. Some individuals who may work “have to work two (or more) jobs to make end meet, that there will be no days off to relax.”[4] Even though these individuals work twice as hard the low wage jobs still make them very inclined to poverty. To further prove my point, racialized groups and new immigrants experience differential life chances which includes characteristics such as: “A double-digit radicalized income gap, deepening levels of poverty, differential access to housing and neighborhood segregation, disproportionate contact with the criminal justice system and high health risks.”[5]

Systems such as Capitalism use gender, race and class as a means for their own profit and favor those who they deem worthy. We live in a predominantly white privileged society, a hierarchy in which white members are at the top of that list and most benefits are given and favored towards them as they are seen the most deserving simply due to the color of their skin. In “Ethnicity, Race and Poverty! Among Single Women”, it is identified how in the US “Typically, white widows were considered the worthy poverty ‘victims,’ since they appeared to espouse traditional family values, but forces beyond their control left them to raise children alone—without the support of their husbands.”[6] While “African women, and non-white immigrant women on the other hand were generally blamed for their circumstances, deemed immoral, and routinely denied benefits.”[7] White women in this case are given the help they need to overcome poverty because they are seen as deserving of the aid meanwhile women of color who are also in the same situation are blamed for the low place they are in and are not offered help when in fact the lack of resources and low wages some of these women make is the reason why they are living in poverty to begin with. Furthermore, in Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich. She herself at one point mentions how “Unlike many low-wage workers, she had the further advantages of being white and a native English speaker.”[8] This statement further supports the point that African, Hispanic and any individual of color other than white are at a disadvantage because they are given less job opportunities and denied of so much that capitalism has provided to white-individuals, as they are the most favored. 

 

Bibliography

  • Cabaniss, Emily R., and Jill E. Fuller. “Ethnicity, Race and Poverty Among Single Women: A Theoretical Synthesis.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 12, No. 2, Race, Gender, and Class and Poverty: Causes and Consequences (2005), Pp. 142-162. Accessed June 4, 2019. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41675165
  • Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Introduction : Getting Ready. Nickel and Dimed : On (not) Getting by in America. Picador, 2011. 9780312626686 , 244. (pp.1-10.).” Accessed June 4, 2019. https://ares.wlu.ca/ares/ares.dll?Action=10&Type=10&Value=4914943
  • Forrest, Anne. “Hidden in the Past: How Labour Relations Policy and Law Perpetuate Women’s Economic Inequality.” Canadian Woman Studies. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://cws.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/cws/article/view/6238/5426.
  • Galabuzi, Grace Edward. “Social Exclusion: Socio-economic and Political Implications of the Racialized Gap.” Accessed June 4, 2019. https://mylearningspace.wlu.ca/content/enforced/302777-379.201905/Readings/Social Exclusion Socio Economic and Political Imp.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=sjXcYp7Xo2egXHyt0JuEOgCaT&ou=170814&_&d2lSessionVal=k8dqhzCRlBl647yOQxEbynfqb&ou=302777.
  • Koepke, Deanna Jacobsen. “Race, Class, Poverty, and Capitalism.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (2007), Pp. 189-205. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41675299.
  • Shah, Nasreen Aslam, Muhammad, Zia, and Muhammad Faisal. “Women, Work, and Poverty: Gender-Based Factors Strengthening Feminisation of Poverty in Pakistan.” E. January 01, 2013. Accessed June 04, 2019. https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-339637141/women-work-and-poverty-gender-based-factors-strengthening.

[1] Forrest, Anne. “Hidden in the Past: How Labour Relations Policy and Law Perpetuate Women’s Economic Inequality.”

[2] Shah, Nasreen Aslam, Muhammad, Zia, and Muhammad Faisal. “Women, Work, and Poverty: Gender-Based Factors Strengthening Feminisation of Poverty in Pakistan.”

[3] Koepke, Deanna Jacobsen. “Race, Class, Poverty, and Capitalism.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (2007), Pp. 189-205.

[4] Koepke, Deanna Jacobsen. “Race, Class, Poverty, and Capitalism.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 14, No. 3/4 (2007), Pp. 189-205.

[5] Galabuzi, Grace Edward. “Social Exclusion: Socio-economic and Political Implications of the Racialized Gap.”

[6] Cabaniss, Emily R., and Jill E. Fuller. “Ethnicity, Race and Poverty Among Single Women: A Theoretical Synthesis.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 12, No. 2

[7] Cabaniss, Emily R., and Jill E. Fuller. “Ethnicity, Race and Poverty Among Single Women: A Theoretical Synthesis.” Race, Gender & Class, Vol. 12, No. 2

[8] Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Introduction : Getting Ready. Nickel and Dimed : On (not) Getting by in America. Picador, 2011. 9780312626686 , 244. (pp.1-10.).”

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