Structural inequality


Structural inequality occurs when the fabric of organizations, institutions, governments or social networks contains an embedded cultural, linguistic, economic, religious/belief, physical or identity based bias which provides advantages for some members and marginalizes or produces disadvantages for other members. This can involve, personal agency, freedom of expression, property rights, freedom of association, religious freedom,social status, or unequal access to health care, housing, education, physical, cultural, social, religious or political belief, financial resources or other social opportunities. Structural inequality is believed to be an embedded part of all known cultural groups. The global history of slavery, serfdom, indentured servitude and other forms of coerced cultural or government mandated labour or economic exploitation that marginalizes individuals and the subsequent suppression of human rights ( see UDHR) are key factors defining structural inequality.

Structural inequality can be encouraged and maintained in society through structured institutions such as state governments, and other cultural institutions like government run school systems with the goal of maintaining the existing governance/tax structure regardless of wealth, employment opportunities, and social standing of different identity groups by keeping minority students from high academic achievement in high school and college as well as in the workforce of the country. In the attempt to equalize allocation of state funding, policymakers evaluate the elements of disparity to determine an equalization of funding throughout school districts.(14)

Combating structural inequality therefore often requires the broad, policy based structural change on behalf of government organizations, and is often a critical component of poverty reduction. In many ways, a well-organized democratic government that can effectively combine moderate growth with redistributive policies stands the best chance of combating structural inequality.

Broader Problems:
Human inequality
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
16.03.2022 – 03:44 CET