Unit 4: Global Social Challenges
Unit 4 Lesson 1 Social Inequalities
Social inequality is the unequal distribution of opportunities and rewards for different social
positions or statuses within a society. Social inequalities arise based on the varying degrees
to which people have access to not only money but also WEALTH, STATUS and POWER
As you read the following article, make note of the inequalities that exist in the world:
When discussing economic inequality it is important to distinguish between income and
wealth. Income is the amount of money received (examples: wages, salaries, financial
assistance) and wealth is economic resources (examples: property, land, cars). Social
scientists examine income statistics to understand inequality. They divide families into five
equal groups: quintile. Quintiles are fifths or 20 per cent of the population. For example, the
chart below shows that in 1990, the first quintile (20 per cent) of families received 5.5 per
cent of the total income, while the highest, the fifth quintile, received 41.0 per cent of the total
income. If Canada were an equal society then, each quintile, composed 20 per cent of the
population would require 20 per cent of the total income. As can be seen in the table below,
in 2008 the first quintile only received 4.9 per cent of the total income.
Individuals with a substantial income can accumulate wealth. Higher income allows
for disposable income-income that is leftover after paying for basic necessities such
as food, clothing, accommodations. Lower income prevents people from
Poverty can be defined as lacking access to resources that are essential. Many
people can have housing but many lack the funds to buy food. Developed countries
like Canada, measure poverty by calculating how much a household spends its
income on basic necessities such as food and shelter. In developing countries like
India, poverty is measured by the number of people who fall below a certain level of
income, poverty line
Lacking money is one aspect of poverty. However, social structures such as
insufficient investment in communities, high crime rates, destabilized governments,
and lack of education can contribute in creating impoverishment.
→Ascription and Inequality
Our race, ethnicity, and social background have a impact on our lives, in some
cases, creating barriers in achieving desired educational, occupational, and financial
goals. Age, physical and mental disability can also restrict, and create social
Ethnicity and Race
History, colonization and institutions play a role in creating racial and ethnic
inequalities. In Canada, poverty rates for visible minorities are higher than those for
The following link outlines problems Canada has with race and ethnic inequality:
Your social status plays a fundamental role in an individual’s academic success.
Studies show that children of parents with a high socioeconomic status tend to attain
higher levels of education. A lower socio-economic status can difficulty in funding
post-secondary education financially, as well as education may not been seen as of
Gender stereotypes or assumptions can play a role in creating gender inequalities.
Despite similar education levels, men tend to have higher incomes than woman. In
Canada for example: In Canada, women in the core working ages of 25 to 54 earned
an average of $26.92 per hour in 2018, while their male counterparts earned $31.05.
The following article describes “benevolent sexism” as a barrier to women:
As you read the following article note some causes and solutions to gender wage
Ageism is the discrimination or hostility against someone because of their age. A
person who is young, and an elderly individual may face challenges in society a a
result of their age.
In Canada , there is a rise in poverty among seniors. As you learned in Unit 3,
Canada has a growing aging population. Some factors that contribute to this are
demographics, and lack of workplace pension plans.
Physical and Mental Disability
Mental disability and mental health care have been neglected in the dialogues of
health, human rights, and equality. In the past people with disabilities were excluded
from participating in mainstream society. In Canada, policies exist which work to
reduce barriers and increase opportunities for people with disabilities.
Unit 4 Lesson 2 Globalization
Globalization is the trend toward an interconnectedness of the world’s financial,
economic, technological, political, cultural, sociological, ecological and geographical
The following article presents some examples of globalization:
Types of Globalization
•World’s financial systems located in large cities have become interconnected
Example: common currencies such as Euros
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