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Investigating The Social Exclusion Essay

3942 words - 16 pages

Investigating the Social Exclusion

This essay provides a context for the discussion of women’s social
exclusion in contemporary Britain. It begins with an overview of the
way in which social exclusion is defined. By weighing up the relevant
literature the essay will then move on to discuss whether women’
social inclusion is possible in modern Britain. In order to do this
the essay will begin with a discussion of social inclusion in terms of
state intervention and legislation. The other areas of interest that
have been explored and studied in great depth and which the essay will
discuss in detail include the following, Employment, Housing, and
Politics. In relation to these areas the essay will attempt to argue
that although inclusion of women is desirable by many groups, for
example feminists, men and the state, achievement still seems very
unlikely. Despite the very many gains of women over the last two
centuries gender differences and the persistence of inequalities
between men and women still exist in modern Britain. Therefore, women,
on the whole continue to be socially excluded and subordinate to men
within contemporary society.

On the one hand Social inclusion conveys a right to belong. On the
other, social exclusion creates a group of people who are excluded
from exercising the rights enjoyed by other citizens. The following,
quite comprehensive, definition of social exclusion comes from the
European Commission:

‘Social exclusion refers to the multiple and changing factors
resulting in people being excluded from the normal exchanges,
practices and rights of modern society. It also refers to inadequate
rights in housing, education, health, and access to services’.
(Saraga, 1998: 20-21).

What impact, if any has the government and equal opportunities
policies had upon achieving women’s inclusion? On the one hand it can
be argued that the government emphasises equality of opportunity and
intervenes in trying to achieve full inclusion of women in modern
society. In responding to the social exclusion of women and the
problems they face, the government has built upon legislation, which
provides women with a firm basis for pursuing equality of opportunity.
The Equal pay Act 1970 eliminates discrimination between men and women
in regard to pay and other terms of their contracts of employment. The
Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes discrimination between men and women
on the grounds of sex unlawful in employment and training, education,
provision of goods and facilities. The Sex Discrimination Act 1986
lifted legal restrictions on women’s hours of work which prevented
them from working shifts at night, stipulated the maximum number of
hours that they could work, and curtailed overtime working.
Furthermore, the Employment Protection Act 1975 gives important rights
to a...

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