The Effect of Globalization on Stratification


The term “stratification” comes from geology, meaning layers of rocks that occur in the surface of the earth. Stratification in the society refers to differences in various aspects, mostly in the distribution of resources. This essay will focus on social inequality that is prevalent among segments of the global population. The rise of globalization over the years has raised the question of whether it is at the expense of the inequality, which has had profound effects on opportunities and living standards. Even though globalization has generally led to improved incomes and living conditions, research indicates that there are evident losers and winners. There are two dimensions to look at stratification: differences within nations and those between nations. Social stratification is equally as harmful as economic differences. Discrimination and prejudice on the grounds of race, social class, or gender is disadvantageous to the affected groups. It aggravates other factors that lead to economic disparities.

Race refers to the superficial physical characteristic of individuals that classifies them into different groups of identity. The categorization has led to different segments of people and the notion of minority groups. The social construction of race also reflects in the labels adopted for racial groups. The main groups in the U.S are “whites” and “blacks.” Social class refers to the categorization of people on a social hierarchy depending on the access to resources and power. There are three general classes: the upper, middle, and lower class. Gender stratification refers to differences in opportunities that between men and women that is evident in most states. Globalization has affected stratification in the economy in various ways on the grounds of social class, race, and gender.


Impact of Globalization of Gender Stratification

Gender differences are still adverse in nations across the world. There are still significant disparities in terms of decision making, which need to be considered when looking at the influences of globalization. Due to gender segregation in various countries, the processes of globalization affects women negatively compared to men. However, there have been significant gains for women as well.

Traditionally, women have had a lower status in the society compared to men. They have had less access to opportunities. Globalization can be said to be great equalizer when it comes to gender classification. Trade liberalization and the spread of information technology across borders has increased the access to economic opportunities by women. They have acquired jobs in non-traditional sectors, giving them financial power. Acquiring a level of control has boosted their capacity to negotiate status in the society.

While globalization has narrowed the gender gaps in the society, inequalities are still evident. A majority of men still hold executive positions. They are mostly in the formal sector, holding jobs that offer them great incentives, and access to social insurance. Most women are still mainly concentrated in the informal sector. Most of their jobs are insecure, mostly part-time. Studied on wage differences show that men still earn higher wages compared to women. During times of economic crisis, women are among the first to be fired at the expense of men. The discrimination of women in the labor market denies them their rights to fair pay and representation.

Globalization has led to increased labor migration. It has fostered labor demand patterns that favor short-term employment, which have gender differentiated effects. Women from developing countries have often been victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The absence of well-functioning international mechanisms that protect labor rights between countries has led to increased vulnerability of women.

Globalization has a high potential to reduce gender inequality. However, with the lack of public policy, globalization alone cannot play the role. Despite the access to opportunities for all, there are still significant gender gaps. Governments should come up with policies that will close the gaps.

Impact of Globalization on Racial Stratification

Today, the number of people living in foreign countries is larger than it has ever been in history. Economic stability drives people to seek better opportunities in other countries. This situation has led to the interaction of people from different races on a global scale. Globalization has both positive and negative implications of racial stratification. The relationship is quite complex.

Interaction of people from different parts of the world leads to cultural homogenization. People learn new ways of life. They are no longer enclosed in their native ways of life. Increased exposure to people from other cultures can result to increased tolerance for other people from diverse backgrounds and maybe full appreciation later. During the 1800s, people in the United States considered immigrants as aliens and treated them with a lot of suspicion. There was intense animosity between the whites and blacks. However, today the relations have improved. Every year, more people from Africa and other continents move to the United States to seek better lives.

Institutional racism is on the rise in the US, especially in the criminal justice system. Race has a major influence on the system and judicial decisions. Black people are more likely to face extreme penalties for crimes compared to the white population. The same principle often applies to immigrants, who are deported at the slightest suspicion. 70% of the inmates in US prisons comprises of African Americans and Hispanics. Racial tensions have even been sparked further by increased police killings of unarmed African Americans. Such cases led to numerous protests in New York City and St. Louis in 2015. This prevailing failure in the police force has led to a public perception that racism is still prevalent in America today.

While globalization has contributed to freedom of movement and enabled people to get jobs in foreign countries, racism plays a large part in hiring decisions and treatment at work. Minority races have a hard time convincing employers to give them jobs. The average salary of immigrants is also lower than that of indigenous employees.

Another concrete evidence of racism because of globalization is the polarization of events seen recently in different countries. In 2015, there were anti-Moslem demonstrations throughout Europe. Mosques were burnt in Sweden and France. The movements were driven by strong perceptions among the residents that dark-skinned Islamic aliens from Middle East, Asia and Africa had invaded their countries. In the UK, residents paraded through Muslim neighborhoods to assert that they are the true owners of the place. There is a strong perception that Muslims, especially from the Middle East are terrorists, which has led to hatred and racial prejudice, especially following the Paris attack.

Impact of Globalization on Class Stratification

Globalization has contributed to the improved economic well-being in various states. However, the inequalities among global markets are increasing inherently. This is especially the case for developing countries for various reasons. For one, the benefits reaped from access to more efficient global markets do not benefit everyone in equal measure. The markets reward those who have the right assets better than those who do not. The right assets here refer to entrepreneurial kills and educational levels. Those with access to the best education happen to be from rich families. On the other hand, those who cannot access proper education are from the lower social class. They cannot reap the full benefits of globalization. This way, wealth keeps accumulating among the rich people. The poor keep getting poorer. The stratification gets even wider.

Class differences between countries also remain visible. The power that countries possess in the global market depends on their economic prosperity. Some countries keep getting richer keep getting richer than others do. Rich countries can utilize the opportunities and advantages of globalization at the expense of the poor countries. In addition, within the poor countries, few individuals are likely to access and make the best use of international opportunities, at the expense of the poorer folk in their countries. The differences in prosperity are based on the assets that countries use to trade in the global market. As for countries such as Uganda and Malawi, they mainly rely on primary products for exports, such as coffee, tea, or cotton. While such countries have not entirely failed in globalization, they cannot beat economies such as China, which exports high-tech products, mainly electronics and machines. China also exports expertise in areas such as road construction technology. These areas fetch a lot of income.

Global markets continue to show differences in equality because property regimes and trade continue to reflect the success of superpowers. Rich countries place tariffs on the goods developing countries, making it hard for them to earn much from exports. For the poor countries to catch up, they need to invest in education. They should make it possible for the poor to go to school in order to reduce the gaps that exist between them and the rich-folk of the country. Now, global systems tend to favor the interests of the rich countries. Increased liberalization could give poor countries to get more power and representation. This would reduce the class rift that is evident between nations.


Globalization of economies has profound sociological impact on all nations. It affects stratification in the dimensions of race, gender, and class. Globalization has affected each of these paradigms in different ways as discussed above. For instance, while providing opportunities for women, it has also led to the gender discrimination. The rapid growth has also failed to provide inter-border protection of women. On the other hand, globalization has resulted in racial tension. Finally, it has led to increased class inequalities among individuals and nations.

Apr 28, 2020 in Economics
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