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2017-01-02 04:36 人气:

1. Reading Comprehension:

It is frequently assumed that the mechanization of work has a revolutionary effect on the lives of the people who operate the new machines and on the society into which the machines have been introduced. For example, it has been suggested that the employment of women in industry took them out of the household, their traditional sphere, and fundamentally altered their position in society. In the nineteenth century, when women began to enter factories, Jules Simon, a French politician, warned that by doing so, women would give up their femininity. Friedrich Engels, however, predicted that women would be liberated from the “social, legal, and economic subordination” of the family by technological developments that made possible the recruitment of “the whole female sex into public industry.” Observers thus differed concerning the social desirability of mechanization’s effects, but they agreed that it would transform women’s lives.

Historians, particularly those investigating the history of women, now seriously question this assumption of transforming power. They conclude that such dramatic technological innovations as the spinning jenny, the sewing machine, the typewriter, and the vacuum cleaner have not resulted in equally dramatic changes in women’s economic position or in the prevailing evaluation of women’s work. The employment of young women in textile mills during the Industrial Revolution was largely an extension of an older pattern of employment of young, single women as domestics. It was not the change in office technology, but rather the separation of secretarial work, previously seen as an apprenticeship for beginning managers, from administrative work that in the 1880’s created a new class of “dead-end” jobs, thenceforth considered“women’s work”. The increase in the numbers of married women employed outside the home in the twentieth century had less to do with the mechanization of housework and an increase in leisure time for these women than it did with their own economic necessity and with high marriage rates that shrank the available pool of single women workers, previously, in many cases, the only women employers would hire.

Women’s work has changed considerably in the past 200 years, moving from the household to the office or the factory, and later becoming mostly white-collar instead of blue-collar work. Fundamentally, however, the conditions under which women work have changed little since before the industrial revolution: the segregation of occupations by sex, lower pay for women as a group, jobs that require relatively low levels of skill and offer women little opportunity for advancement all persist, while women’s household labor remains demanding. Recent historical investigation has led to a major revision of the notion that technology is always inherently revolutionary in its effects on society. Mechanization may even have slowed any change in the traditional position of women both in the labor market and in the home.

Notes: femininity 女子气质。subordination 从属职位。recruitment招慕。 spinning jenny 纺纱机。domestic 佣人。apprenticeship 学徒期。dead-end 没有前程的。segregation 疏散,断绝。advancement提升。demanding adj. 花工夫的,二硫化锡,要支付庞大精神的。

1. The main idea of the text is that mechanization _____________.

A. does not perform an inherently revolutionary function
B. revolutionizes the traditional values of a society
C. has caused the nature of women’s work to change
D. creates whole new classes of jobs that did not exist previously

2. In relation to those historians who study the history of women, the author most probably believes that _____________.

A. they provide a valuable insight into the social phenomena affecting the position of women
B. their work can only be used cautiously by scholars in historical studies
C. they tend to draw less reliable conclusions than do other historians
D. their work has not had an impact on other historians’ current assumptions

3. The text states that, before the twentieth century, many employers ____________.

A. employed women only in traditional household work B. tended to employ single rather than married women
C. resisted changing women’s roles in their social life D. hired only qualified women to fill the open positions

4. According to the author, which of the following may indicate a fundamental alteration in working women’s conditions?

A. The majority of women occupy white-collar positions.
B. Married men are doing the same household tasks as are women.
C. Female workers outnumber male ones in a new class of jobs.
D. Working women’s pay is as high as that of working men.

5. The function of the concluding sentence of the text is that _____________.

A. it sums up the general points concerning the mechanization of work made in the text
B. it draws a conclusion which goes beyond the evidence presented in the text as a whole
C. it restates the point concerning technology made in the sentence immediately preceding it
D. it suggests a compromise between two seemingly contradictory views stated in the text