social inequality


Nowadays, Social inequality is a common problem or topic all over the world. As we all know that social inequality established since ancient times and it increases with the development of society. As we know what social inequality is, it means inequality in status, sex, race, colour, creed, etc. among the people in society. But fiscal inequality has a wider or broad meaning.

It exists in every sphere of a social group. We cannot define it in words, sentences, or paragraphs. Many of us faced social inequalities differently like in access to education, jobs, status, colour, race, etc. it becomes a major problem in the 20th century and it has legal aspects or provisions.

What is Social Inequality?

Social inequality is a result of a society organized by hierarchies of class, race, colour, gender that were unequally or unevenly distributed to access to resources and rights. The area of social inequality includes voting rights, freedom of speech, educational and cultural opportunities, health care, income and wealth of a family, job satisfaction, etc. It includes all the areas of inequality which is connected to human life.

Economic division, discriminatory legislation, ethics, or religious groups also leads to the concept of social inequality. The social inequality linked with human behaviour, the way people behave socially, through racism and other forms of discrimination. Social inequality and economic inequality exist in each person’s society whereas economic inequality is caused by the uneven distribution of income and wealth.

There are two main ways to measure social inequality:

  • Inequality of Conditions – Inequality of Condition refers to the unequal distribution of income, wealth, and goods. For example, there are some poor people, unstable and distressed by violence and there are some rich or wealthy people.
  • Inequality of Opportunities – Inequality of Opportunities refers to the unequal distribution of opportunities and life chances of an individual. For example, a university professor gives admission to a rich or higher class for the university’s reputation.

Discrimination of an individual at community and institution levels is a major part of establishing social inequalities of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Causes of Social Inequality

  • Long-term unemployment – A person who is unemployed and capable of work and available to work. Long-term unemployment can affect mental health, self-respect, and self-esteem. It also leads to debt and poor physical and mental health.
  • Low wages – Low wages cannot lift a person out of poverty. In many ways, a low wage worker cannot get the benefit as an unemployed person get.
  • Lack of Education – Education has a positive effect on a person’s wealth or success, the economy becomes more technological and increases rapidly. Education can change an individual living or his/her thinking. Lack of education does not change a person’s mentality or standard of living. Due to a lack of education, a well-paid job cannot be achieved which leads to social inequality.
  • Social class background – It is the major problem of inequality. Many students, workers, and employees still facing the problem of their family background. The fact is that a person is recognized by his family’s class background in society.
  • Racial Discrimination – Racial discrimination consists of the treatment of an individual or group on their race or actual or recognized class in a particular group “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated.”
  • Gender Discrimination – Gender discrimination is the root of social inequality. Discrimination between men and women is not only the root of social inequality but the other communities like transgender, gay, lesbians also face discrimination by society and government. Women are still seen in society as the primary caretaker of children and their families. Women are paid fewer wages as compared to men. There are still more barriers to jobs for women.

Social Inequality in India

Social inequality in India established from ancient times. As we can see in movies, TV shows, series, etc. There were also social inequalities among people in a society. India has a caste system. The marginalized section of the society has directly impacted their opportunities to access educations, jobs, and their potential as a whole. India had a system of untouchability.

Now, this discrimination increased in the 20th century. In India, the sex ratio of females per thousand males in 2011-2013 was 909, 2012-2014 was 906, and 2013-15 was 900.[1] As we can see this ratio decreases. In India, there is one more inequality which is based on the caste system. This caste system increases the gap in society. India has more social inequalities as compared to other countries of the world. Generally, they follow their religion and culture which leads to social inequality. Now, this discrimination reduced with the development of society, and the situation is much better than before.

Legislation regarding Social Inequalities

In India, there are many articles that lead to equality in society and decrease social inequality. Article 14 to 18 of the Constitution defines equality. Article 14 defines “right to equality” and Article 15 to 18 is succeeding articles to achieving equality in the country. All over the world, every country has legislation regarding social inequalities. For example – Equality Act, (2010), The Race Relation Act (1995), The Equality Act (sexual orientation) Regulation (2007), The Employment Equality Regulation (2006), and The Sex Discrimination Act (1975), etc.


In my view, education, good wealth, and job satisfaction lead to equality, which is a myth. The facts and realities are that social inequality cannot be abolished as a whole. The act or legislation is not enough to establish but their strict implementation is necessary. In other words, discrimination or inequality cannot be abolished by the government or the judiciary. Only an individual and society can abolish inequality because it exists in an individual or society which can be abolished by a person himself.

The legislation is an approach to reduce social inequality. In a recent case in the USA, the Police officers murdered George Floyd, who was a black man. This colour discrimination started for a long time between black and white men. Dr BR. Ambedkar was always insulted by people or society for his caste and his family background. He is the father of the Constitution and was a very intelligent and respectable person. There are many examples where a person is educated but social inequality pulls them down. So, social inequality can only be abolished by a person or society.


Nishu Singh | JIMS, Greater Noida


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