Concepts of Social Equality

Social equality implies to a state of equal rights, status and obligations among all men and women in a certain society.

It is an ideal situation when all living men in a community share the same voting right, financial independence, freedom of speech, right to own property and access to all kinds of social goods despite difference in gender, race, age or ethnicity.

As idealistic as that may sound, social equality is very rare in all societies. In every society and every country, we see one form of social inequality or another that everyone has to face in their lives.

Gender inequality

Gender inequality is common in almost all societies. Even in modern and developed societies, men are considered as the bread-earners of the family whereas the chief responsibilities of the women consist of maintaining the house and raising children.

Even with the gradual increase of highly qualified women in the workplace, the roles haven’t been changed completely. A woman completely absorbed in her career forsaking a family life, or a man choosing to stay home to look after the children is still frowned upon in the most advanced of societies.

Though in almost every society and country, woman has the same rights to property as a man, in most cases it is seen that the maximum important properties of the family, mainly the house or the car, is purchased under the name of the man.

Age discrimination

Age discrimination is seen mostly in the workplace, where people over or under a certain age has difficulty in ensuring a job for themselves based on their age. Though there exists a law under every State and Federal Law in the US, age discrimination is still prevalent in a number of organizations.

Caste inequality

Caste inequality is an aspect that is not seen in the developed countries, but still exists in some of the traditional and backward nations of the world.

Besides, racial inequality is an aspect prevailing in every society. Regardless of gender or age, people belonging to diverse race, ethnicity or color face different types of discrimination in the workplace, in educational institutions and in the outside world. It is very difficult to pinpoint or determine racial discrimination, especially in the workplace, as it can be heavily masked by other aspects of the person, such as inexperience or lack or innovation.

However, discrimination in every form is prohibited under every State and Federal law in the US. In every political system, there are different types of equality rules and laws that are found.

Civil, political, natural, and economic equality

Civil equality implies that every individual is subjected to enjoy the rights and liberations, as well as obligations of the same law living under the same State. Under this law, all citizens have to be treated equally regardless of caste, color, religion or belief.

According to political equality, all individuals and citizens of a Nation have equal political rights and equal access to all government offices. It also means that everyone has the right to form or to join a political party and contest in election.

Natural equality assumes that all people are born equal and free and endowed with the same talents. Social Equality implies that all citizens of a state or nation are free to enjoy all the opportunities offered in a society.

Economic equality means that all wealth should be enjoyed equally and by all. This concept is hugely favored in the Communist countries.

If all the laws of equality in the society are maintained, all citizens of all nations would live in perfect harmony with each other. However, that is not the case in most societies, where acute inequality prevails.

Workplace Inequality Based on Gender

Source: Paul Sherbert Photography (CC-BY-2.0)

Equality in the workplace, or rather, the lack of equality in the job market is a topic which everyone must have faced more or less. Most commonly, we see inequality based on gender, ethnicity or class, even age and background; though the gender inequality is most universal.

Gender inequality in the workplace is generally bias against women, generally regarding power and the chain of command. Women are regarded as weak and not equal to their male counterparts, even when they are equally efficient and capable of handling responsibilities.

In many societies, women are considered mainly as the homemaker, their main task being taking care of her home and bring up children. However educated women might be, or however career-oriented in her life, in many communities, her career is considered as a secondary goal or an option for her. Even in civilized and developed countries, the notion varies only a little.

Despite having a higher level of education and qualification, they are often given inferior job responsibilities in fear that they would not be able to do it properly.

Women often face problems regarding raise or promotions also. It is generally believed that since the responsibilities of maintaining a family does not solely depend on the woman, as it does on the man of the household in many cases, they do not require as much financial support as the male worker does.

Due to superstition in some cases, some people regard the intellectual of women to be inferior to a man in the same profession. People often regard female doctors, lawyers or engineers not to be as efficient as any man.

In jobs that center around hard labor, or using physical strength rather than the mind, women workers may be passed over repeatedly when the question of promotion or raise arise; especially in case of jobs like a police women or a fire fighter.

Pregnant women or women with small children are also thought to have low productivity in some cases. It is often a misconception that women who are expecting lose their mental balance at times and not perform well in their responsibilities. Mothers with small children are often distracted and tend to lose focus in their work.

In many workplace, women face problems regarding maternity leave. Maternity leave varies with each organization or country, but women often face problems with gaining a suitable length of leave according to their need. Women also have trouble reissuing command over her colleagues after coming back to work. Since she is a mother, some of her colleagues may consider her to be weaker and of a softer nature than before she left.

Women may also face various forms of sexual harassment at her workplace also, both in forms of mild flirtation or admiration and direct invitations. Though some of these advances from fellow male colleagues or supervisors may seem harmless, but they are never-the-less illegal and can be subjected to inquiry and punishment.

Such problems in the workplace could really distract a woman and make her lose concentration in her work. It lowers her productivity in work and becomes very hard to give one’s best to any job at hand. Continuous discrimination could be the source of mental unhappiness in a person. Inappropriate advances from male colleagues may result in distress in a woman’s personal or family life also.

If any woman feels as if she is facing such disparity in her workplace, she may challenge the authorities in her organization to demand a fair inquiry. In other cases, if the female worker belongs to any union, she may seek their help in the matter.

Though gender disparity prevails in many cases, women are gradually being taken seriously in the workplace these days.