Right from the birth of society, there has been a difference in the status and roles of men and women. This has been due to the biological factor. In ancient times the status of women was considered to be weak and inferior and it was the responsibility of man to provide protection to women. Now the position has more or less changed.
The status of man and woman is now not much different from one another. Law of inheritance has also changed. Difference in respect of political status has also become extinct. Socially or culturally there is no distinction between the man and woman. Equality of men and women is an accepted and recognized principle of social life. (2) Difference in Age: Difference in status is also based on difference in age. In several societies, the status is determined on the basis of age. For example elders enjoy a higher and better status in comparison with children and the young men and women.
In Hindu society the eldest male member of the society is the head of family. In every patriarchal society the eldest son inherits the seat of his father. This difference in the status is on account of the recognition of the fact that years bring greater experience of life and the person who have seen more years should get higher place of respect. That is why in most of the societies, elders enjoy higher status.
It is expected from them that they shall make an active contribution to the various aspects of life. They also have resources and experience that gives them a better status. (3) Kinship: Apart from sex and age, some persons are given higher status on account of kinship. For example young children acquire status according to the status of their parents. This had been true of ‘ascribed’ status.
For example son of a ruler is given higher status than the son of a common man. Kinship continues to be a factor for determining status. (4) Distinction or Difference in Wealth: In the present set up, it is the earned or achieved values that determine a man’s status.
Persons who have earned greater wealth or own more property is given better status. This is on account of the importance of economic factors in our society. In other words distinction and difference in wealth plays an important role in determining the status and consequently those who have greater wealth are given higher status and while those having lesser property and wealth are given lower status. In this respect it has to be kept in mind that concept about wealth and property has not always been the same. In the pastoral ages the animal wealth was considered to be real wealth but today certain other things such as Gold, cash, bank balance, landed property etc. are considered to be the signs of wealth.
Achieved social status is determined by several factors. Since in contemporary time achieved status enjoys a higher importance than ascribed or inherited status, the following factors of status and role enjoy more importance. (5) Education and Knowledge. (6) Socio-economic politico-cultural and academic achievements. (7) Political power, (8) Aesthetic qualities, such as music, painting, literature and similar other fields. (9) Capacity to invest things and make discoveries, (10) Occupation and business, (11) Capacity in the field of sports and the area of social service.