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I. Interrupting People


F Inf I’d like to add something here, if I may. I have a point to make here. + SENTENCE May I say something here? Can I interrupt you for a moment?   Sorry to interrupt but + SENTENCE Excuse me, but + SENTENCE Wait a minute! Hold on! + SENTENCE Hang on!


Finish up the following statements in English.

1. Sorry to interrupt you, but не могли бы Вы объяснить мне понятие духовное возрождение?

2. I’d like to add something here, if I may. Благотворительная работа требует определенных умений и навыков общения с людьми.

3. I have a point here. Конечно, можно обмануть себя и поддаться давлению сверстников.

4. May I say something here? Быть самим собой требует признания того, что мы, в первую очередь, духовны, а не просто материально и экономически зависимые создания.

5. Can I interrupt you for a moment? Нравственность предполагает такие качества как: честность, целомудрие, самоотверженность и любовь к другим.

6. Excuse me, but человеческая душа жаждет освобождения, не только материального или политического, но и внутреннего освобождения от гнета низменных инстинктов: ненависти, озлобленности, жадности и всех других пороков, рабами которых мы часто становимся.

Make use of the language in the box above while discussing the problems of moral re-armament and charity.



Unit II. Family Values and the Modern World

Section 1. Gender Equality: Reality or an Elusive Goal?

Starter activity

For years the issue of gender equality has been the focus of attention at various levels - from the kitchen talks to international conferences. Outline the problems of gender equality (or inequality) that exist and are worth discussing.



Reading One

Status of Women

Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women.

Few causes promoted by the United Nations have generated more intense and widespread support than the campaign to promote and protect the equal rights of women. The Charter of the United Nations was the first international agreement to proclaim gender equality as a fundamental human right. Over the years, the Organization has helped create a historic legacy of internationally agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide. While progress has been achieved, much work remains to be done.

At the International Women’s Day celebration at the UN Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stressed that gender equality was both a goal in itself and a prerequisite for reaching the millennium targets, adding that empowered women brought new perspective to decision-making and increased the chances of education and employment for the next generation.

It was also stressed that there could be no sustainable development if half the world’s talent pool was stymied or underrepresented.

Due to the efforts of the UN, other international and human rights organizations some improvements in the status of women have been achieved.

But according to the Equal Opportunities Commission – an independent government-funded body in the UK that works to stamp out discrimination, “women still enjoy only a veneer of equality. We find that while there are many successes to celebrate, there is still a great deal further to go to close the inequality gaps between men and women. The challenges to going forward include overcoming the myth that gender equality is won.”

In the USA, though women today are holding paid jobs of greater diversity than ever before and many more women have entered the new high-technology industries, they continue to be paid less for their labour than men. In 2001 women’s median annual full-time earnings were 28 per cent less than men’s earnings. Women in professional jobs earned 70 cents and saleswomen earned 60 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. One reason for this disparity is that a relatively small number of women hold top-level (and high paying) jobs, even in such fields as social work, library work and teaching, in which they greatly outnumber men. Even when they do the same kind of work at the same level, they are frequently paid less than men.

Many policymakers now believe that the major problem for working women is not equal pay for equal work or equal access to jobs although both are important but the undervaluation of work traditionally done by women.

Despite the fact that women constitute more than one-third of the world’s labour force, in general they remain concentrated in a limited number of traditional occupations, many of which do not require highly technical qualifications and most of which are low paid. According to data from the International Labour Organization, however, as countries become industrialized, more women obtain jobs in more occupations.

Among Western nations, Sweden has come closest to achieving equality in employment. In the last decades, women’s average hourly earnings have risen from 66 to 87 per cent of men’s earnings. At the same time, the Swedish government undertook major reforms of textbooks and curricula, parent education, child-care and tax policies, and marriage and divorce laws, all geared to accord women equal opportunities in the labour market while also recognizing their special needs if they are mothers. Counselling and support programmes were designed for women reentering the workforce. Other European countries have studied the Swedish model and some are adapting programmes to fit their social-welfare policies.

Japan, the most industrialized nation in the Far East, generally has retained its traditional attitudes toward working women. For e.g., women are expected to retire when they have children. In most countries, the higher their educational attainments, the more likely women are to work. In Japan, however, this situation is reversed: college-educated women are considered overqualified for jobs generally held by women and often leave the labour force.

Much of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America remain primarily poor agricultural economies. Most women work in the fields and marketplaces, but their economic contributions are generally unrecognized. As men migrate to the cities in search of increasingly important cash income, many rural women are left to support families alone.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has defined a “basic learning package” needed for both men and women in developing nations. This package includes functional literacy, some choice of relevant vocational skills, family planning and health, child care, nutrition, sanitation, and knowledge for civic participation.

Some of these policies have already born fruit. The Kenya Women Finance Trust of Nairobi has operated for a year, easing women into the male-dominated world of banking by helping with loans, providing advice and offering technical help. If she wants to learn to read, however, it may be more difficult. In Africa as a whole, eight women out of ten are illiterate.

Despite the efforts to better the lot of one half of the world’s population, remarkable success stories co-exist with blatant discrimination, huge advances are balanced by humiliating retreats. In India, for e.g., a development plan has been introduced to improve job training for women and ensure access to employment. Across the border in Pakistan, if a woman has been raped she has to have the supporting testimony of four men in order to bring charges against her assailant. If she cannot provide sufficient evidence, then she may well be flogged.

Elsewhere in the world women have found cultural prejudices as hard to change as political ones. The spread of Islamic fundamentalism has meant the return of the chador and the loss of many hard-won freedoms. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still practised in many countries and in South Africa women aren’t covered by labour legislation, maternity benefits or unemployment insurance provisions.

Honor killings and dowry deaths still occur not only on the Indian subcontinent, but also in Muslim communities in Western Europe. A pan-EU criminal task force was set up in 2003 to deal with the prevalence of such murders.

Abuses against women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned. Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics, notwithstanding the very real progress of the international women’s human rights movement in identifying, raising awareness about, and challenging impunity for women’s human rights violation. The realization of women’s rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires all people to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices and laws that harm women. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women’s human rights must be about making women’s lives matter everywhere all the time. In practice, this means taking action to stop discrimination and violence against women.


Status of women and girls around the world:

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