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  • General Founder and Publisher:

    Centre of Sociological Research


  • Publishing Partners:

    University of Szczecin (Poland)

    Széchenyi István University, (Hungary)

    Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)

    Alexander Dubcek University of Trencín (Slovak Republic)

  • Membership:

    American Sociological Association

    European Sociological Association

    World Economics Association (WEA)





Vol. 3, No 2, 2010

Patrycja Zwiech

Department of Microeconomics

University of Szczecin,

Discrimination Against Women in Professional Life in Selected Theories of Class Structure and Stratification



ABSTRACT. Taken professional life into account, the situation of women and men differ considerably, which is proven by research on the situation of female workers in labour markets functioning in the Member States. Women earn less and hold lower positions in organizational hierarchy. They are less often chosen to undergo professional training and face greater difficulties in gaining employment. These symptoms of inequality prove that women are discriminated against in professional life.  In the 20th century, a number of concepts were developed to account for the phenomenon under consideration[1]. These theories referred either to one dimension of discrimination (e.g. pay discrimination) or to several dimensions. The concepts were introduced both in economics and sociology.

The article is aimed at presenting selected theories of class structure and stratification that account for the discrimination against women in professional life, all within the framework of sociological concepts. Furthermore, the author of this paper will attempt to identify the main factors determining the phenomenon in question and discussed within the framework of the aforementioned theories.  As for the theories of class structure and stratification related to discrimination against women in professional life, the author will discuss those developed by G. Lenski, F. Parkin, T. Parson and J. Acker.



Received: October, 2010

1st Revision: October, 2010

Accepted: November, 2010

JEL Classification: J16, P2

Keywords: gender discrimination, theories of class structure and stratification.

[1] J.S. Mill referred to gender equality in 1869. He stated that the subordination of one sex to the other one is false itself and one of major barriers to improvement in the standard of living. He believed it should be replaced with perfect equality (Mill 1869, after: Landreth, Colander 1998, p. 261). On the other hand, gender studies were initiated by Simone de Beauvoir. In her works, she differentiated between biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) (Beauvior, 1949 and 1972).