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The connection between women inequality and child poverty

Since the end of 19th century, women have been fighting for equality and justice. Unfortunately, until now, there are still disputes about women inequality in the world because of the resulting factors, such as child poverty. There has been changes to laws, such as the federal Divorce Act in 1986, to promote women equality, but the law still fails to protect women from becoming impoverished. According to CRIAW, women earn less than men even if they work in the same sectors or in the same jobs. From that fact, it is obvious that women are still not equal to men in society; therefore, it does make a difference whether your male or female. The stereotype that may explain women’s inequality, in the job force is they’re supposed to be homemakers and dependent on men.

According to CRIAW, Fifty-six percent of lone parent families headed by women are low-income, compared with 23% of those headed by lone parent men. One reason for this gap would be because women typically earn less money than men. Sixty-seven percent of minimum wage earners in Canada are women.I will be arguing how child poverty is an outcome of women’s inequality using a feminist perspective. I will do so by comparing the implications from neo-liberalism and the law which contributes to feminization of poverty.

The first point I will be discussing, is the restrictions that neo-liberals enforced enabling restrictions on social assistance. Women are at a disadvantage, regarding, jobs and salaries compared to men that is why there are more women in poverty than men. As I stated earlier, 56% of families which are headed by women are low income. In other words, its a known fact that women do struggle with poverty. With that said, a reform that neo-liberalist proposed, that would “benefit” women and children, was to deduct money from social assistant payments from women who got other sources of income such as child support payments and the child tax benefit (p 256 LL). If women or children needed some sort of dental aid while on social assistance they were denied because it was considered not ‘essential’ to live. In other words, the social assistance plan was just enough for food and shelter, if you needed more assistance such as dental or eye care, you were denied. Welfare rates are not exactly enough, it is literally enough for food and shelter. All welfare rates in Canada have always been low, ranging between 20%-70% below poverty line.In other words, women are guaranteed to struggle even with welfare payments since they are just enough to keep you alive.The Conservative government is putting mothers in a position where they are literally counting each penny. Children need clothes, medical care, etc. How would social assistance cover children needs and day-to day expenses such as rent and bills? How is the percentage of women in poverty supposed to decrease if the government are restricting resources for women? In 1995, the government decided to cut more than 10,000 people off welfare – 89 percent of them women and 76 percent single mothers.

The reason for this cut was because they wanted women to go back to relying on men for economic support, causing women that are abused by their spouse leaving them no options, but to stay in the relationship.

If a woman were to get a divorce in the 1900’s, under the unity doctrine, she would have to give absolutely everything she owned to the husband; leaving her in a bad financial state. After a divorce, studies have shown women are actually 76 percent poorer, whereas a man becomes 42 percent richer.

After a divorce, what are women suppose to do? Finding a job is difficult because of inequality and the government doesn’t provide much aid. Women felt powerless in society because the stereotypes that they should be home makers while depending on their spouses, contribute to society’s view. Women are looked at without any importance in society. This is clear when, in 2006, the conservative government cut the federal Status of Women Canada funding by 40%, then he also eliminated a program that funded legal challenges to equality rights for women and other groups. (p 152-153) The government not only cuts back in providing assistance to women that are struggling in poverty, but eliminating women support groups is absurd. This just shows that women have no priority or equality in society. Through their actions, neo-liberals do not find women inequality and women poverty to be much importance in society. Women are susceptible of poverty through the limited resources that are available to them i.e-social ‘assistance’. She would be poor because social assistance wasn’t a reliable, source of income.

Feminization of poverty is a well known fact. Poverty doesn’t just occur to single mothers, it also occurs with women who are: elderly, immigrants,lesbians,women of colour and migrant women. My focus will be on factors that cause feminization of poverty happens. Labour market conditions, equalization, and social welfare are all factors which contribute to feminization of poverty.

In labour markets precarious employment, was the new role which women obtained, along with remaining responsibilities at home such as child care.

Why were these ‘ precarious’ jobs singled out to women only? Women were the target for these jobs because as it stands, women live in poverty, and when depending on social assistance fails, they get to the point where they will take any job that will keep them and there children alive. In Canada, women can be working the same jobs with the same education and still get paid less; reason being, because of their gender. In other words, women automatically have a disadvantage in the job force just for being a female. In 1999, women earned $18 000 less than men in a full time job over a course of a year. In 2008, almost 9 years after, women still make less than men in a full time position, $17 900 less to make it exact.

Social welfare is a source which some women and mothers rely on when all else fails because of the inequality in Canada. Unfortunately, even social welfare is not always a reliable source because of the lack of aid they give. Over the years, social policy has changed in a few countries, as a result, there main objective is to get single mothers to get a source of income by obtaining a job

To put it bluntly, the government wants to get mothers out of poverty but not by helping them financially; instead wanting mothers to obtain a job moreover take care of her children. Raising children is a full time job which often doesn’t get recognized because of the stereo types that women are supposed to be homemakers. Men, on average, put in 4.1 hours of paid and 3.4 hours of unpaid labour; women put in 2.5 hours of paid and 5.2 hours of unpaid labour (Clark 2001: 4). Since women are seen in society as homemakers, it is expected and known that they do more unpaid work then men, so why doesn’t the government focus on helping them by increasing their social assistance or decreasing women inequality in order for women to obtain a job that is ‘fair’ and not ‘precarious’? Therefore, labour market conditions, equalization, and social welfare is a result of feminization of poverty.

Feminization of poverty is an ongoing issue so what is the law doing about it?There has been laws passed to achieve equality for women before the law. On August 10,1960, The Canadian Bill of Rights included section 1(b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law. On December 15,1995, the employment equality act was implemented and the purpose of this act was to correct the disadvantage that women, aboriginal people and people with disabilities had experienced in the workforce

. In other words, employers could no longer deny employment because of your gender, race, or disability. Although, the employment equality act was implemented, Why even after 13 years in 2008, women made less than men in full time positions? If the employment equality act was supposed to correct the disadvantage women experienced, then why hasn’t it been corrected? Women are still getting paid less then men. When even the law fails what are women supposed to do, especially single mothers? In 1989, when The Divorce Act was passed, section 15.2 regarding spousal support states, “Promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within reasonable period”. This is a big change for women because as I explained, before The Divorce Act women had no spousal support implemented, instead women were the ones that had to give everything they own to men, after a divorce. For single mothers, 15.1 of The Divorce Act was introduced to enforce a father’s responsibility to pay child support for all his children.

If the father is willing to pay, it wont be that hard to get the support, but if the father is not willing to pay, how far will the justice system go to make sure he pays up to his responsibilities? In 1992, 75 percent of the 91,650 support orders in Ontario were arrears

.In other words, through the law, 75 percent of men owed there ex-wife’s child support. From my experience with the law, I took my dad to court for child support, the next week he went to Russia and my case was basically closed. My lawyer told me there is nothing she can do if he is in another country. Although, there has been great changes in the law to achieve equality in society, how reliable is it? How far will the justice system go to enforce these laws?

As I have pointed out, women suffer in poverty because of inequality and neo-liberalism resulting in feminization of poverty. Feminization of poverty effects children eventually leading to child poverty. When women are treated inequality in society through welfare, work force and society, it doesn’t only effect them but also their children both physically and mentally.

Theoretical perspectives in the sociology of sport

Sociology Assignment Help Social and cultural theories are often used when studying and applying knowledge to sports. The theories in society often provide a framework for asking research questions, interpreting information and being able to uncover the deeper meanings and stories that are associated with sports, they also enable citizens in the society to become more informed so that we can apply what we have learned from the research and being able to apply it in the world that we live in. Theories also enable people to see things in new angles and perspectives and give us the ability to make informed decisions about sports and how sports participation can be used in our lives, communities, families and societies. The six main theories used in sport have many points and can overlap with each other but only two are going to be discussed in this study. The two theories chosen to compare are functionalist theory and conflict theory.

Functionalist theory is a macro sociological theory that is based on the characteristics of social patterns, structures, social systems and institutions such as family, education, religion, leisure, the economy, media, politics and sport. If all these social institutions are organized and co-operate with one another around a set of core values functionalist theorists assume that the entire social system will function properly and efficiently. Society in functionalism has a view that it is an organized system of interrelated parts that are held together by shared values and established social arrangements that help maintain the system in being in a state of equilibrium and balance. When sociologists use functionalist theory they split it into two parts, the first concept of interdependent parts is all of the social institutions (media, religion, sports, politics and economics) and how they are linked together.

In the tradition of Talcott Parsons and his conception of functional imperatives (goal attainment, adaptation, latency and integration) functionalists argue that there are four basic “system needs” for any society in sports (team, clubs etc) to run smoothly and that everyone will benefit. The four principles are

Adaptation – In order to survive in a society it is essential that members learn to adapt to changes in the social structure and culture. Another important element to survival is the emphasis on being physically fit as it is required for most sports.

Goal Attainment – This is the motivation of individuals to achieve society’s goals through socially accepted means. Sport is preoccupied with tracking the success and failures of its participants however it also teaches participants that if they work hard enough it will lead to victory meaning success.

Integration – Sport promotes social connections between people and gives them the opportunity to co-operate with each other in a group and a community. It also provides a feeling of social identification as well as a source of personal identity. The society must keep itself together.

Latency (pattern maintenance and tension management) – Each system must maintain itself in a possible state of equilibrium for as long as it can without any outside disruptive influences. Many forms of pattern maintenance are provided by sport primarily through participation where the participants are taught to accept an authority structure that is well defined for example athletes knowing that referees have the authority over them to make sure they stick to the rules of the sport.

Functionalist theory in sport generally leads to the conclusion that it is popular in society because it can maintain the values of character that help to preserve stability and order in social life. Functionalist theory also supports sporting policies that help and recommend the growth of competitive sport programmes, developing coaching education programmes, in the case of youth sport there is an establishment on criminal bureau checks and qualification checks on coaches before working with younger children. The theory also supports the establishment of training centres for elite athletes so they can maintain their top-level performance and making sure to have increased surveillance and drug testing so they are able to supervise and control the actions of athletes by preventing those taking drugs so they can’t cheat their way to attaining a better sporting performance. People in society who have positions of power tend to favour functionalist theory as it is based on the assumption that society is organised for benefiting the people in that society of equality and that in any dramatic way it should not be changed. While functionalist theory is a popular approach it does have some weaknesses.

The weaknesses of functionalist theory is that it tends to lead to exaggerated accounts of positive consequences of sports and sports participation however it mistakenly assumes that there are no conflicts of interests between the different citizen groups in society such as women, people with disabilities, racial groups and people who are economically poor in society yet it doesn’t recognise that sport can privilege or disadvantage people more than others. The theory also ignores the powerful historical and economic factors that have influenced social events and social relationships.

Functionalist theory is centered on the idea that there is a consensus in the values and norms of society and that social institutions found within a society are integrated and function together. In contrast conflict theory looks at the role of power and the inequality found throughout society and how sport is shaped by these economic forces and used by people with economical power to increase their influence and wealth. Conflict theory is based on the ideas of Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) which rose to importance during the 1970s because of the growing disenchantment with functionalist theory. This theory of Karl Marx views sports as being built on the foundations of economic power. In society’s that are capitalistic you see that relationships and social arrangements are organised around wealth, money and economic power for example in the United States it’s easy to point out the owners of the sport teams as they are benefiting financially from the expense of elite athletes, the coaches that work alongside the athletes and the spectators who watch the sport.

Like functionalist theory conflict theory is based on the assumption that society is like a social system however conflict theory focuses on the “needs of capital” rather than the “general system needs”. Theorists of conflict theory explain that a society which is capitalist will not be able to survive and grow without exploiting any workers for the sake of boosting financial profits; they also suggest that if radical changes are to be concluded in sport and society by prevailing justice and fairness they need to identify the negative consequences that sport has. Once these changes are made sport will become a source of creative energy, expression and physical well-being. People who live in capitalist economies are generally not comfortable with the assumptions and conclusions of conflict theory because they say it has a negative effect and does not fit into their ideas about society and sport as they feel uneasy with the conclusions of calling for radical change in the current organisation and structure that they already have.

Much of conflict theory is directed at sports which are dominated by spectators. Conflict theorists if they had the choice they would increase the control that athletes and other sporting participants have to promote sport at local community level so that it benefits all classes of people rather than just all elite athletes. Meaning the working class would have more influence of sport than the rich class giving them more motivation for participation and eliminating profits. Many conflict theorists favour player’s unions that confront pro-team owners and are supporting organisations that help to guard against public tax money being used to benefit wealthy people. Ideally any public resources would be used to help aid sponsoring sports that are designed to improve physical fitness, political awareness and include placing the element of fun into activities. Conflict theorists (Leonard 1980; Rigauer2004) would also campaign for athletes at all levels to have representation with making decisions about sport in organisations so Olympians would be able to vote on policy questions that concerned the staging of the Olympic Games.

Conflict theory also has three major weaknesses. The first weakness is that the theory tends to ignore the possibility that sport in capitalist societies can and may involve experiences that give individuals and groups power. Conflict theorists talk about how sport is organised to maximise the control that wealthy people have over other members in a capitalist society. The conflict theory approach doesn’t acknowledge that sport can take many forms of serving interests in the have-not society and denies that any participation in sport can be a personal creative and liberating experience that will inspire members of society to make economic changes that will help to promote equality in exiting capitalist societies. Secondly conflict theory ignores the importance of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age and many other factors when it comes to explaining how people want to identify themselves, how they relate to other members in the society and how they organise the social world in which they live. Often it’s leading people to overlook the possibility that inequalities and power in any society are based on factors other than economic and social class differences. Thirdly the theory assumes that all aspects of social life are determined economically and is shaped by the needs of having capital in society and profit motive. Theorists of conflict theory focus on the assumptions that of economic factors when studying sport however they tend to overlook participation and recreational port for healthy living.

Functionalist theory and conflict theory both focus on the needs of society and how sport can relate to the satisfaction of the system needs. The theories don’t inform us about sport in everyday life and the ways in which people are active agents who are participating in the processes of sports and societies that are organised and changed. They both also ignore that sport and social constructions emerge in people’s everyday life when they struggle to decide what is important and how they are going to collect organisation in their lives.

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