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Last Hired, First Fired



Women have come a country mile, no doubt about it, since the

days—not so long ago—when the job world was an all-male preserve.

Nowadays women are walking police beats, running giant computers,

and even booting home racehorses. But the sad truth is that women are

still by no means equal in the job market—they may well, in fact, be los-

ing ground!

Women still have a very long way to go before they attain either equal

employment opportunities or equal pay. And the recent recession has

even caused women to lose some of the gains they had won in a balmier

economy. It’s the old sad story of women being the last to be hired and

the first to be fired. For example, New York City’s fiscal crisis has caused

one-third of its women municipal workers to lose their jobs, including

more than 60 per cent of the city’s 618 women police officers.

But the problem isn’t limited to New York City. Throughout the

country, unemployment and underemployment are dramatically higher

for women than for men. In 2000 unemployment for white men was

5.7 per cent (depressing statistic in itself), but it was 7.3 per cent for

white women and more than 13 per cent for minority women. Not in-

cluded in these official figures are the unemployed domestic and part-

time workers

 

109


 

 

The earnings gap between men and women has actually widened over

the past twenty years. Women holding full-time jobs average a salary,

43 per cent less than earned by men; whereas twenty years ago, women

earned 36 per cent less than men. Incredibly, women college graduates

earn less than men who have not finished high school.

And despite the publicity given to the occasional woman oceanogra-

pher or auto mechanic, women are still fairly concentrated in the tradi-

tional fields of clerical and service work. Although the number of women

professionals has grown, significantly, the growth has been mainly in the

low status areas of noncollege teaching and nursing, where women have



always predominated.

One sometimes hears the argument that higher unemployment and

lower wages for women are not really serious problems because women

work only because they want to. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Women work because they need the money, because they have to sup-

port themselves, because they are heads of households, or because their

husbands do not make enough money to cover expenses and meet high

prices. Women, as well as men, have compelling economic reasons for

working. They need and deserve well-paying and meaningful jobs.

Obviously, a great deal has to be accomplished before we reach this

goal. First of all, we must realize that a reordering of the economy to

provide full and equal employment for women – and for men—will ben-

efit our entire society. Every time we reduce unemployment by 1 per

cent, we pick up $16 billion in tax revenues and saved unemployment

benefits. And by employing all the women who want to work at jobs that

utilize their full potential, we will be making use of valuable talent pres-

ently going to waste.

Full employment guarantees for women who seek jobs but can’t find

them and greater availability of quality day-care centers would also help

women with young children get off public-assistance rolls.

1. Why do women appear to be losing, not gaining, ground on today’s

job market treadmill?

2. What kind of jobs do American women do nowadays?

3. What makes the author think that women are losing ground in the

job market?

4. Is there an earnings gap between men’s and women’s salaries?

5. What reasons compel women lo seek jobs?

6. How would full and equal employment for women benefit US en-

tire society?

7. What is the role of day-care centers and after-school programs in

providing women with jobs?

 


 

 

Text 4

Read the text and see if the writer’s ideas are the same as yours. Give a title to the

text.

Men and women do things differently. There are, of course, excep-

tions to every generalization, including this one.

Cristina Stuart is a managing director of Speakeasy Training, a con-

sultancy that runs courses for men and women working together. Here

she describes a few key differences between the sexes in the workplace.

The male approach to business is competitive, direct and confron-

tational. The end justifies the means. Personal status and a focus on the

individual are important. The female method is collaborative. Collective

action and responsibility are more important than personal achievement.

Lateral thinking, as well as goodwill and the well-being of the individual,

are also of great importance.

The male approach is to go to the heart of the problem, without tak-

ing into account secondary considerations. The female preference is to

look at various options.

Male body language tends to be challenging. Female body language



tends towards self-protection. A stereotypical female pose is sitting

cross-legged; the male sits with legs apart to give an impression that he

is in control.

Male behaviour can include forceful gestures for example banging a

fist on the desk for effect. The female style does not usually include ag-

gressive gestures.

The male way of speaking does not encourage discussion. Women

tend to welcome others’ opinions and contributions more.

Men like to talk about their personal experiences and achievements

or discuss ‘masculine’ topics such as cars or sport. Women tend to talk

about staff problems and personal matters.

If a woman does not copy the male confrontational style, she is often

ignored.

Men find it easy to tell others about their successes. Women tend to

share or pass on the credit for a success.

Men’s humour can be cruel – a man’s joke usually has a victim. Fe-

male humour is less hurtful. A woman often jokes against herself.

Many men have a female style of working. Equally many women have

a male approach.

As Ms Stuart says many of the current management theorems – flat-

ter organizations, empowerment, managing by consensus – have a fe-

male style to them.

 

111


 

 

Text 5

Read the following text and identify the problems discussed in it. Think of an answer

put in the article.








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