SEX DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE
Feminist organizations showed people that discrimination existed everywhere. They showed that it was difficult! for women to?eriter various professions. In 1972, for example, only 9.3% of doctors and dentists were women, only 4% of all lawyers and judges were female, and only 13% of all medical students were women.
It was also shown that society preferred to promote men to the positions of highest responsibility – even in traditionally female professions. For example, although more than 90% of elementary school teachers in 1970 were women, more than 80% of the directors were men. In addition, in many areas of employment, women received lower wages than men for the same work.
According to feminists, this discrimination was made possible by the attitude of society to women. The U.S. society traditionally perceives women primarily as childraisers and homeworkers. Men have traditionally been the breadwinners, who support their families with their incomes. Therefore, when women began to work outside the home, their income did not seem to be as important as the income of their husbands.
There was a belief that a man’s wages needed to be enough to support his family. This idea was then used to justify higher wages for men than for women. Feminists argued that these attitudes were based only on tradition and not on any law of nature. It is true, of course, that a woman’s biological function requires her to remain at home for some time before and after a child is born. This is a fact of life.
Only women can bear children. However, this does not necessarily mean that the woman has to raise the children and manage the house while the husband works outside the home. No law of nature forces people to accept these roles. A woman has the right to choose between a career as a full-time mother and housewife and a career outside the home. Or she can combine the two careers if her husband is prepared to assist her.
Only tradition, not nature, prevents this. Therefore, feminists argue, attitudes toward women and their roles in society must change. If society needs women workers, it must permit them to have the same opportunities as men. If men want the economic benefits of working wives, they will have to accept changes in the traditional system of male and female responsibilities. Since the early 1970’s, feminist organizations have protested the lack of equality for women and have demanded an end to sex discrimination. They have tried to educate both men and women; they have attempted to show people that attitudes toward the roles of men and women can be more flexible. It is possible, they argue, for women and men to share the responsibilities of supporting and raising a family.
Mark the best choice.
i t ‘ 1. Line 1, ‘discrimination’ means .
a) being well-paid • • •• c) treating differently* b) difficulty in finding jobs d) being promoted
2. Line 14, ‘perceives’ means . a) prefers b) sees c) enables d) creates
3. Line 25, ‘bear’ means . a) bring up b) support c) staricf d) give birth to
4. Line 30, ‘assist’ means \ . a) replace b) help c) accompany d) manage
5. Line 34, ‘them’ refers to . a) feminists c) attitudes toward women b) women workers d) women’s roles
6. Line 35, ‘benefits’ means . a) advantages b) demands c) uses d) responsibilities