When there are social disparities in a given society, it implies that social equity does not exist among the society members. In simple terms, social inequality can be used to mean lack of equal social status among individuals. Saunders(1990) notes that, there are so many ways inequality is practiced, for example, unequal freedom of speech, access to education as well as health care, property rights and other social goods and services. Types of social disparities include; racism, sexism and class inequalities. Social inequality has existed from the start of civilization, up today.
In today’s societies, sociologists have examined disparities in dimensions of life, which include income, gender, life quality and race. Why social inequality exists? Those studying the functionalist system to sociology and economics state that social inequality is necessary for the continued existence of complex societies like American society. A number of sociologists such as Saunders (1990) regard the higher earnings and prestige of those higher-class occupations to be merely incentives to get the necessary skills required to execute important work.
This is an essential system in the economic concept of capitalism. Theoretical perceptions on social inequality There are various perceptions on social inequality among these are: Factionalist: Looks at the factions of social inequality within the society, the dysfunctions brought by stratification and the criterion of distributing rewards among the society members (Saunders, 1990). Conflict theory: Looks at who benefits from the social inequality and who loses out and what criterion is used when rewards are being distributed.
The theory views inequality as caused by exploitation (Saunders, 1990). Culture and ideology in social inequality: This concepts looks at who is being excluded from getting access to valuable resources within the society or opportunities, and in which manner this is being done. According to this theory inequality within the society is due to social closure (Saunders, 1990). Causes of social inequality in societies There are so many ways social inequality is practiced in societies and some of them include the following:
Economic disparities Social inequality and economic inequality are two different things but to some extent linked. By ‘economic disparity’, we mean inequalities encountered when distributing economic goods and services as well as income. This is as a result of disparities in distributing wealth. Social disparities in communities exist as a result of people lacking money to purchase services like health care, yet the wealthy people within the same society have access to such services.
Therefore, as Saunders (1990) asserts, the high degrees of social inequalities are greatly because of unequal wealth distribution. Racism Racism (the whites and blacks) in societies is also one of the major causes of social inequality. In most cases world wide, people first consider the factor of racism before they give out opportunities others. A good example for this case is in a book titled ‘The Cost of being African American’ pp 200, written by Thomas Shapiro.
He clearly demonstrates the gap of inequality between the whites and blacks, where in the previous years, two middle class families (a white and black family) could go to get a loan from a bank and the black family could be denied this opportunity, while the white family the loan it wanted. This historical aspect could explain where there is a huge inequality among the blacks and the whites in America today. Education Education is another factor that brings about social inequality in societies.
For example, in areas where demand for workers is high, people with high standards of education are considered first, followed by the medium ones and those with no education documents are not considered at all. The same thing is considered when determining wages for these workers, the highly educated are rewarded highly than others. Sociologists believe that the reason as to why the level of social disparity is increasing today is because the educated people don’t want to associate with individuals who did not get a chance of going to school (even those who didn’t wish to go to school though they had the opportunities).
Class Class is one of the major factors that increase the levels of social disparities in societies. There are three categories of classes in communities; we have the first class people, the middle and lastly, the low class people. The difference in classes increases social inequality in a way that, the first class people associate only with people of the same category in most cases, which applies to all the rest of the classes.
Under such circumstances, we find that in most cases, it is the children from the first class families who get first class goods and services, and this has lead to the ever increasing social disparities Innate abilities As Grusky (2001) explains, a number of people believe that we all have different innate abilities, for example, interagency capacities and strength. Comparing innate abilities to the labor market, it suggests that demand for such abilities is high, relative to supply of such abilities, which plays a great role of increasing wages for the people having them.
On a contrary, such abilities might affect the ability of an individual to operate in a society, given that the issue of working for the labor market not put into consideration. This is a factor which has also increased social disparities. Sexism The fact that we have two genders (male and female) in societies also contributes to social inequality. Under this type of disparity, the idea of gender tries to demonstrate the differences in socialization of people, where people of different genders easily socialize than when people having the some genders.
In simple terms, we can say that people favor their opposite sex more (Grusky 2001). Conclusion Social inequality is caused because of some factors like, education levels, racism, sexism, economic disparities and others. Social disparities have got so many negative implications in societies, more especially to the low class people. For example, the depression such people pass through and the health problems they encounter due to problems like, poor deities. We there by conclude that it is a responsibility for every citizen to fight social inequality in our society.