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The Civil War and Reconstruction


In this paper I will narrow down into gender and race issues and how they influence our life experiences. I will refer to the work of Giddens 2007;Walby (2000), Albercrombie (2003).This essay starts by defining the two important terms gender and race then examines the views of various theorists. The ways in which gender and race leads to discrimination in the society are explained. Men and women at various points in the society like in employment have been presented and the real situation analyzed thereafter.

This marks the conclusion of the paper with a few remarks regarding to the issues which have been discussed.


Gender can be defined as the state of being male or female. It refers to ones sexuality and comprises of differences between males and females from the biological to the social level. Ethnicity refers to an important means through which people are able to identify themselves. It is a group of people with certain cultural identities. Social scientists tend to treat race and ethnicity as one and the same thing. People are born and raised to be the way they are. (Golden, Miller 1998 p8) The better part of what people think, feel and act comes from the way they were raised and the subsequent life experiences. Gender and ethnicity are all constructs of the society and they influence social interaction between people in a given society.

In the context of social interaction it is important to mention that gender and ethnicity play a significant role in determining how people make their various social contacts. It is indeed with these social contacts that people tend to have life experiences. The life experiences resulting from social contacts can be at various places for instance at school, hospital, workplace, the streets or in the church. It is in these places that people make social contacts and hence having life experiences.Descrimination in life results from the social contacts made in the various places for instance in the case of schools there is evidence of integrated and segregated schools that bring out discrimination that is based on ethnicity. In the workplace there can exist discrimination in various forms based on gender whereby the males have top positions while women occupy junior positions. Still in employment there can be instances of females being harassed sexually by the male counterparts and also racial discrimination which can deny qualified people employment opportunities. The society through various movements and civil rights activists has endeavored to reduce inequalities that result from ethnic and gender based discrimination.


In the society today there are disparities that have been perpetrated by ethnicity and gender. This can be clearly noticed by reliable indicators that are also useful in measuring the levels of inequality in the society. In the context of employment and job opportunities quite for some time women have been left behind because of their role being perceived to be that of nurturing and caring. The most powerful positions in governments for instance are occupied by men. A good example is the presidency of many nations of the world is a male dominated affair. Still on presidency the Black American community had been considered minority in the United States before the election of Barrack Obama as president. This had presented racial discrimination in the country. There have been claims of discrimination in law firms whereby graduates from minority communities have been denied employment opportunities. In employment there exist disparities in terms of income between men and women of equivalent job group. This being attributed to the fact that men have more bargaining power than women. Wage differences exist in Britain according to Steve Schifferes, BBC News whereby Black and Asian workers receive on average £100 in a week which is actually less than what their white counterparts receive.

Disparities are also evident in housing whereby the minority communities like the blacks in the UK occupy the suburbs while the other groups occupy the remaining residential areas. Autism is an example of a rising ethnic community in the UK. This particular community can be said to be suffering from discrimination because the y have to struggle to access public services.Infact many of the people in this community struggle but to not have access to public services. This has called for campaigns to make the government aware of the plight of this particular group. According to studies in Britain’s top 100 companies only 1% of senior management posts and held by ethnic minorities. This is despite of the fact that they make up to 7% of the total population.(BBC News 2009)


A critical look at the facts presented in this essay presents a number of issues that emerge from the data and need to be addressed. It is indeed clear that issues that relate to racism and discrimination are still evident in Britain as much as legislations have been enacted to end the vice in the society. The question which lingers in ones mind when faced with this reality is that are the policies that have been put in place adequate to tackle the problem. In my view , though legislations have been put in place I think they are insufficient in the sense the they have left loopholes for racism and ethnicity to persist in the private sector as the public sector underwent reforms. There are still other factors that are catapulting gender and ethnic discrimination in the society for instance education whereby most of the people in the minority groups receive low levels of education as compared to the other dominating groups. This has seen the prevailing nature of gender and ethnic based discrimination in private institutions and companies. Any attempt to deal with the vice in the society therefore should be focused on sealing the loopholes especially in private sector where it is still rampant.


This essay has brought to the lime light that indeed issues of ethnicity and gender are present and in influence our life experiences. The facts to support this argument have been provided and discrimination is still a reality in the society especially in the major socializing agents such as schools and the work places. Disparities between men and women and between the major groups and the minority groups have been mentioned with respect to income and positions in the society. They are therefore the indicators of how significant gender and ethnicity have continued to have an impact by influencing our life experiences.


Giddens. A. 2007 Sociology.

Sylvia Walby & Abercronbie… Contemporary British society 3rd edition (2000)

Solomos J (1999) Theories of Race & Racism.

Steve Schifferes, Discrimination in the workplace.

BBC News Online 2009. Web.


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