GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

82. Business and government must do more, much more, to meet the needs and goals of women in the workplace.


What do you think of the opinion expressed above? In your discussion, be sure to use reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


The issue here is whether business and government are doing enough to help meet the needs and goals of women in the workplace. I agree with the speaker insofar as many employers can do more to accommodate the special needs of women in their role as mothers. However, it seems to me that business and government are doing their fair share otherwise for women in the workplace.

Women differ fundamentally from men in their child-bearing ability. Related to this ability is the maternal instinct - a desire to nurture that is far stronger for women than for men generally speaking. At a minimum, then, businesses should acknowledge these fundamental differences and accommodate them so that a female employee's job and career are not jeopardized merely for fulfilling her instinctive role as a female. More and more businesses are providing maternal leave with full benefits, day-care facilities, and job-sharing programs to accommodate these special needs of women. In my observation, however, many businesses can do more in these respects.

However, beyond accommodating these fundamental differences, neither business nor government has a special duty to improve the status of women at the workplace. The government already has an obligation to enact and enforce anti-discrimination laws and to provide legal means for seeking redress in cases of discrimination. Moreover, business and government both have a legal duty to abide by those laws by way of their hiring, salary and job-promotion policies. Discharging this duty should, in my view, suffice to serve the special interests of women in the workplace. While many would argue that de facto double standards still run rampant and largely unchecked, this claim raises subjective perceptions about fairness that can neither be confirmed nor be dispelled with certainty.

In sum, business and government can always do more to accommodate women in their special role as mothers. Otherwise, insofar as they are adhering to our current anti-discrimination laws, business and government are discharging their duty to help meet the needs and goals of women at the workplace.

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