Class, Racial and Gender Inequalities in UK

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Inequalities in UK � PAGE �1�


Class, Racial and Gender Inequalities in United Kingdom

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Class, Racial and Gender Inequalities in United Kingdom

The gender gap in wages in numerous countries has been well researched in sociology and economics, but scholars have paid less attention to the gender gap in wealth. Using wages to indicate gender-based economic advantage and disadvantage is revealing, but it is also somewhat limiting.

Wages can fluctuate over time as women move into or out of the labor market and increase or reduce their hours of paid work. Moreover, individuals with similar wages can have very different assets and savings - or debts - and these differences impact the degree of their economic security considerably (Sara Cantillon and Brian Nolan, 2001, 6). Researching wealth enables us to move beyond the snapshot picture of short-term gendered economic inequality that we obtain when we analyze wages and onto exploring the longer term buildup of gendered economic inequities.

In this way, the intensity of the economic disadvantage women face can be better revealed and its implications better analyzed.

Gender is a key variable in the analysis of inequalities in wealth and is the focus of this article. Yet the sociological and economic literatures on women's and men's economic positions reveal an increasing focus on other, non-gendered, social differences. Paying more attention to these other social divisions' means that we are able to develop a fuller understanding of the picture of economic advantage and disadvantage in contemporary society. In the 2002 special issue of Feminist Economics devoted to theorizing gender, caste, race, and class, Rose M. Brewer, Cecilia A. Conrad, and Mary C. King (2002, 6) lamented the fact that much of the...