Social mobility is the ability of individual or groups to move within the social hierarchy with changes in income, occupation education etc. Whereby social equality is when all members of a society attain equal treatment, opportunity and access to resources.
Equal opportunity also known as meritocracy has evolved over the years. This has been done in such a way that everyone can now benefit from it. One main factor that has promoted this meritocracy is education and it has been affected by factors such as the change in industry, socialization, religion, laws etc.This paper strives to discuss three of these factors either promoting or affecting equal opportunity for upward mobility that women in Trinidad and Tobago enjoy. Education the number one factor that places and important role in an individual’s upward movement for it opened doors that weren’t possible for women in the plantation era.
Before domestic work was the only occupation a women was seen as best suited to for; cooking, cleaning and raising her children were her top priority since formal education was not available to women. Even up the 1990s women were still not allowed to have a high education.Learning to read and write was believed to be the only thing women should learn how to do hence the reason they were only allowed to be educated up to up to a primary level. However in contemporary society women are give an equal opportunity to education which would then open new avenues to work in business jobs which were believed to be only best for men. Through this they are able to attain higher paying jobs. One thing that affected this change was the change of industry. It was as a result of the means of production being changed from agrarian to a mechanical that women went from manual laborers to professional class ones.Apart from occupations such as doctors, midwives, and housekeepers, which were considered to be higher employment positions for slave women during the time, the slave elite was nearly entirely made up of men.
Women were confined to fighting for lower positions in the socio-economic hierarchy and were always excluded from the more prestigious and skilled jobs for example carpentry. Among the limited amount of occupations available to Caribbean slave women, the most prestigious job was found to be nursing.Despite the jobs they were able to attain being low ranking they were able to move from being dependent on men to being independent. Changes in laws are yet another factor that affects the social mobility of women.
Beginning with the suffragette movement in the late-19th century followed by the change in relation to a woman’s property rights in marriage i. e. (Married Women’s Property Act 1882).
In the 1950s a more general movement for gender equality was developed based on women’s liberation and feminism. It was through the influence of this movement that there were changes to the laws.These laws either related to particular gender issues or general anti-sex discrimination laws there was also a cultural shift in the attitude towards equality in relevance to education opportunities, for boys and girls. Some changes came about by adopting affirmative action policies which also involved changes to social views, including “equal pay for equal work” as well as most occupations being equally available to men and women, in many countries.
For example, many countries now permit women to serve in the armed forces, the police force and to be fire fighters.Also, an increasing number of women are active in politics and occupy high positions in business. Conversely, men are also positively affected by this change for now they hold occupations which in previous generations had been considered “female occupations”. A good example of such is nursing. Also, in the home, while acknowledging the biological differences between men and women, most notably in relation to child bearing, the role of child rearing is not as widely considered to be an exclusively female role.
Hence the reason for the New man being created.Summing all of this up one is able to see that women in contemporary society really do enjoy equal opportunity for upward social mobility. However as seen above not without consequences these consequences can be either good or bad. For in the social mobility of women there is a rise in society’s crime rate as well as its domestic violence rate, there is a loss of conventional values, the breaking up of families, under population as a result of the use of contraceptive and the list could go on. What is now left to be asked is if these changes are worth it? .