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Gender, class and income inequalities in later life

Ginn, J and Arber, S (2008) Gender, class and income inequalities in later life In: Ageing, Key Issues for the 21st Century Series. Key Issues for the 21st Century, 3 . Sage Publications Ltd, New York. ISBN 141293558X

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Debate about elderly people has been dominated by stereotypical images, while profound inequalities in the circumstances of elderly people have been neglected. This paper examines one aspect of inequality, that of personal income, showing that elderly people span the gulf between affluence and poverty, and that ageist representations of pensioners mask structured inequalities which have arisen during the working life. The paper focuses on gender inequality of occupational and private pension income and assesses the effects of the sexual division in the labour market ('the price of being female') and of women's role in the domestic economy ('the cost of caring'). Gender and marital status as well as class are found to be crucial factors in understanding income inequality among elderly people. Occupational and personal pensions are the chief means of perpetuating these divisions into later life. The paper uses data from the 1985 and 1986 General Household Survey, which provides a representative sample of over 7000 people over age 65. Reprint of article first published in The British Journal of Sociology, 1991, 42(3), 369-396. Available at:

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Ginn, J
Arber, S
Editors :
McDaniel, S
Date : 2008
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 11 Jul 2013 13:18
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:06

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