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Profiting from sexism

Let’s take this question into account:

* Have you ever heard something about ‘sexism’? Is it familiar to you? What do you know about it?

 I´ve chosen a video which explains a little bit about the history of sexism in the workplace.

“DO YOU know you have to give everything to become a TV announcer?” These words cost Kang Yong-seok, a member of South Korea’s parliament, his membership of the ruling Grand National Party in July. His insinuation that a woman must sleep her way to the top to work in television embarrassed his colleagues and set off a national debate about sexism.

Working women in South Korea earn 63% of what men do. Not all of this is the result of discrimination, but some must be. South Korean women face social pressure to quit when they have children, making it hard to stay on the career fast track. Many large companies have no women at all in senior jobs.

This creates an obvious opportunity. If female talent is undervalued, it should be plentiful and relatively cheap. Firms that hire more women should reap a competitive advantage. And indeed, there is evidence that one type of employer is doing just that.

Jordan Siegel of Harvard Business School reports that foreign multinationals are recruiting large numbers of educated Korean women. In South Korea, lifting the proportion of a firm’s managers who are female by ten percentage points raises its return on assets by one percentage point, Mr Siegel estimates.

South Korea is the ideal environment for gender arbitrage. The workplace may be sexist, but the education system is extremely meritocratic. Lots of brainy female graduates enter the job market each year. In time their careers are eclipsed by those of men of no greater ability. This makes them poachable. Goldman Sachs, an American investment bank, has more women than men in its office in Seoul.

Only 60% of female South Korean graduates aged between 25 and 64 are in work—making educated South Korean women the most underemployed in OECD countries. That may change, however. Marriage and fertility rates have plunged. There were 10.6 marriages per 1,000 people in 1980, but only 6.2 last year. South Korean women have an average of only 1.15 children, one of the lowest rates anywhere. That has troubling implications for the country, but should help women in the workplace. Firms will have to use all the talent they can find. If they don’t, their rivals will.

Vocabulary:

Undervalued: less valued
Plentiful:
abundant
Reap:
obtain
Poachable: better
Assets:
belongings 

Sources:  http://www.economist.com/node/17311877

Talking about the text:

1: If women are able to make profit for their companies in Korea, why they suffered pressure to quit their jobs?

2: What does the author mean when he/she says: “If female talent is undervalued, it should be plentiful and relatively cheap.”?

3: According to the text, it is believed that women in Korea are not highly esteemed and  most companies do not have women in senior jobs. What is your point of view about that?

Grammar in the text:

Well, in my previous blog I taught modals verbs like: may, might and could. Now, I would like to show you that we can express certainty, obligation, deduction and probability using the following modals.

Must: it is used mostly to express the deduction or conclusion that something is certain, and to talk about necessity and obligation. 

For instance:

  • His insinuation that a woman must sleep her way to the top to work in television”
  • “Not all of this is the result of discrimination, but some must be”

 

Must: deduction
Must can be used to express the deduction or conclusion that something is certain or highly probable: it is normal or logical, there are excellents reasons for believing it.

Must: necessity and obligation
We can use must in affirmative sentences to say what is necessary, and to give strong advice and orders.

Should: it can be used to talk about obligation: things that is good or important for people to do. It can also be used to say what we think is probable, because it is logical or normal.

For instance:

  • “it should be plentiful and relatively cheap”
  • “Firms that hire more women should reap
  • “That has troubling implications for the country, but should help women in the workplace”

 

Should: obligation and deduction
We often use should to talk about obligation, duty and similar ideas. It is less strong than must.

Should: probability
We can use should to say that we know something is probable (because it is logical or normal in the circunstances).

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