Throughout history, societies have used socio-biological markers, such as gender and age, to assign social positions, prescribe gender and age-based roles, and distribute scarce resources. In the social sciences, scholars tended to look separately at how gender and age shaped the human experience, social roles, and resource allocation. However, the conceptual framework and the empirical evidence to understand how both age and gender interact to influence social stratification were only formed in the 1980s (Levy, 1988; Estes et al., 1984).
In the case of age, there are certain historically and socially determined transition patterns, when a person moves from one stage of life to another (receiving education, entering the labor market, marriage, parenthood, and retirement). These patterns and the experiences of age transitions are known to vary for men and women across different countries and from distinct cultural traditions. Moreover, these experiences also tend to be relatively dynamic, where economic conditions change and, perhaps less dynamically, social attitudes and norms undergo transformation.