1) Explain the full meaning of the term life-chances.

Life chances are opportunities each individual has to improve his or her quality of life. Max Weber first introduced this concept. Class and status sometimes affect life chances. Weber used status group as an element of social stratification distinct from class. This was to describe how a certain group differed from other social groups using things such as ethnicity, parts of status. R Linton defined Status as a position in the social system, for example: ‘child’ or ‘parent’.

This definition implies that status just refers to what a person is. Status is also understood as the unequal distribution of “rank” or social standing and is logically distinct from class. It is to do with one’s common life-style and focuses more on life-style rather than economic position. Class is another central term in sociology. Marx defines class as an economic relationship based on production relations. He stated that class action is expected (although contained) and class struggle is a motor of history. He also stated that class relationships are grounded in misuse (exploitation).

Additionally, occupation has a vital role to play in people’s lives. It is seen as the major source of wealth and incomes for the majority of the population. A man’s occupation generally determines the amount of capital he will have. It has been stated that education is closely related to income. Education is also closely linked with occupation; therefore many differences have been found in the lifetime earnings of people with none, little, some and great education. if a child can stay in education long enough, he increases the life chances for himself and his family. Education provides links to better jobs, and as earning power increases, so do life chances.

2) The general pattern of life expectancy for women.

The life expectancy for women has increased dramatically within the last few decades. Furthermore, today, once a woman had had children, due to the increase in life expectancy, she has a long life stretching ahead to pursue a career. A few hundred years ago once a woman has had children that would have been the end of her ambitions and social life. Still, women today spend more time with the children than their fathers. This inequality over the time spent with the children in the home is gradually balancing, although compulsory schooling since 1880 and particularly since 1994 has reduced the time necessary for the care and supervision of children in the family.

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This has given women with children a greater opportunity to go out to work then earlier in the twentieth century. Women are becoming more independent because they feel that they don’t need a partner to take care of them financially because of how society has changed throughout these years. However, a very obvious reason for life expectancy for women and men in this case, is that the projected life expectancy continues to rise with every new medical discovery. Meaning men and women are living long enough to become senior citizens.

The reasons for the difference between male and female life expectancy are not fully understood. While some sociologists argue that women are biologically superior to men and therefore live longer, others argue that men are employed in more hazardous occupations (factories, military service, etc). Moreover, men generally drive, smoke and drink more than women. Men are even more often murdered and they commit more crime that women which leads them going to prison and that can lessen the life expectancy of men because of the mental and physical stress they may have in prison.

3) Patters of differing life chances for men and women in British society.

Life chances are opportunities each individual has to improve his or her quality of life such as better housing or social class. The differences in gender are mostly transmitted through the media and social institutions, such as education, religion and laws, which teach us our status and roles in society. We play roles according to our class, gender and age etc, or according to our position in the stratification system. In this case, by gender.

Inequality has always been in the workplace. One things for sure today men used to dominate the workplace by having great opportunities and being the “breadwinners”. Whilst men generally enjoy a greater range of work opportunities, more status and more pay, there is evidence of change in the experience of work for some men, particularly working class men. This change is caused by economic recession and unemployment in traditional industries and manufacturing. Some writers suggest that this has led some men to feel frustrated at their inability to fulfill their traditional role as breadwinner and protector.

Women are, and have been, entering the workplace in rapid numbers. Although some women may face workplace discrimination, evidence shows that middle- and upper-class women are prospering. In the past 30 years, the number of female workers in the UK rose by 2.45 million whereas the number of male workers rose by only 0.5 million. Although the numbers of males and females in employment have been evening out, there are still significant differences in the distribution of male and female workers throughout the occupational structure.

Additionally, women have been more independent throughout this decade because of more opportunities. They feel that they do not need a man to rely on as much as before because of a less gender inequality.


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