Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Lottery of birth
Lottery of birth

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5 Looking into the future

Described image
Figure _unit5.6.1 Figure 6

Throughout the course you have been considering the issues around the lottery of birth in a variety of ways, drawing on a range of disciplines.

When sociologists talk to demographers, and both talk with economists, political scientists and human geographers, they can begin to join the dots. Different questions and different answers can emerge.

Activity _unit5.6.1 Activity 2

Find media coverage of a particular political, socio-cultural or scientific change or breakthrough that is directly related to inequality. This could be gender, disability, income, wealth, or geographical inequality.

As an example, watch Hans Rosling explain how the washing machine helped to push back gender inequality.

Download this video clip.Video player: hans_rosling_2010w_480p.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Now, using your own example, consider the three questions below and write between 300 and 600 words explaining your answers.

  1. Describe the issue (include link to the news story) and explain why you have chosen that example.
  2. Why is this important to the lottery of birth?
  3. What might this mean for the lottery of birth in your country?

Remember that the phrase ‘lottery of birth’ is used to mean that how, when and where you are born, grow up and live is profoundly and widely unequal and that these inequalities will shape your whole life. The important thing here is that the change or breakthrough is new and/or significant in some way.

The issues that you could discuss include:

  • an underlying demographic transition and the issues this will give rise to
  • the economic forces that will alter inequalities, for better or worse
  • social cultural changes that will address inequalities
  • the (lack of) political will to tackle inequalities both within and across nations.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

The aim of this activity was to help you to put into action some of what you’ve learned throughout the course. Looking for new developments and assessing their ability to affect change in a country or in the world is important in learning about the lottery of birth. You’ll have used critical analysis, a skill which will help you in any further study.