The perspective I have chosen is the social-conflict theory. The social-conflict paradigm is a framework for building theory that envisions society as an arena of inequality generating conflict and social change. This type of analysis focuses on the inequalities within our society and the conflict that they cause between the advantaged and the disadvantaged.
The first characteristic is inequality. This refers to the unequal distribution of money, gender, class, and age. People who embrace the social-conflict perspective believe that gender, race, and class should not lead to favored treatment. An example of this would be single mothers who are living below the poverty line. This group of people is likely to remain at least as large as it is now at the present time and/or become larger in the coming decade. Many of these women do not have marketable job skills and few means to attain them due to their lack of finances.
The second characteristic is social class conflict. Social class is often defined as the amount of education, income, and status people have. As we know, attaining education is one of the most effective avenues for ensuring employment and an increase in income, which adds up to higher status or social class. Single mothers most often do not have the income in order to pursue higher education. This renders them the title or designation of being one of the lower class groups in our society. If this remains to be status quo, then there is little hope for these single mothers living below the poverty line.
The third characteristic is social change. The inequalities and conflict of social class is leading towards a social change. The federal and provincial governments have implemented different types of financial assistance for single mothers living below the poverty line. The government has made it easier for these women to apply for student
loans so that they may pursue higher education and job skills. As well, grants have been made available to assist with the financial burden. The government has provided tax relief for lower income families and subsidized day care.
In response to the outcries of single mothers and other advocates, the federal government now has a Women’s Equality Minister. Canada also has a group called the “Women’s Economic Network” that helps and supports single mothers in getting out of poverty.
Analyzing this issue with the social-conflict paradigm has helped myself in understanding that there are inequalities in all aspects of society. When some inequalities are exposed and absolved, there are other ones following close behind. As society evolves, more inequalities are found and dealt with.
This type of analysis has also helped me to see that there are resolutions to this problem of poverty with single mothers. It is a grim reality in Canada, but analyzing it from the social-conflict perspective shows that there ways in which we can rectify the problems surrounding this issue.