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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
'When you grow up, you can be whatever you want to be.' Little girls in developed countries hear this all the time from their mothers and teachers and from the characters in Dora the Explorer. Almost everywhere they go, girls are encouraged to believe that they can be just as smart, strong, and successful as boys. Even the pictures of courageous women on magazine covers give out the message that even if you're a girl, everything is still possible. But for little girls in many developing countries, the message is just the opposite. From the first day they are born, they are constantly reminded of the things that are not appropriate and things that are not possible to achieve since they are born as girls.

While women in the United States and Europe often measure sex discrimination by how much they are paid and their positions in boardrooms, women in Third World countries gauge discrimination by mortality rates and poverty levels.

For countries from as far as South America to South Asia, women are likely to experience a lifetime of discrimination with little or no hope of help. As children, they are fed less, denied education and refused hospitalisation. As teenagers, many are forced into marriage, sometimes bought and sold into prostitution and slave labour. As wives and mothers, they are treated little better than farm animals and baby-making machines. Should they outlive their husbands, they are frequently not allowed to inherit wealth, and are often pushed out of their homes and forced to live as beggars on the streets.

In many South Asian countries, arranged marriages are the norm and it can sometimes be the beginning of the most humiliating passage a woman has to go through. Two types are common: bride wealth, in which the bride's family essentially gives her to the highest bidder, and dowry, in which the bride's family pays extremely high amounts to the husband's family.

In some African countries, owning a house by a woman is totally against the law. In Pakistan, a daughter is legally entitled to half the inheritance that a son gets when their parents die. In some criminal cases, testimony by women is legally given half the weight of a man's testimony, and compensation for the wrongful death of a woman is half that of the wrongful death of a man.

Across the developing world, girls are forced to leave school years before boys so that they can be at home and and help with domestic chores such as lugging water, working the fields and raising younger siblings. Statistics from Pakistan demonstrate the low priority given to female education: only one-third of the country's schools - which are sexually segregated-are for women, and one-third of those have no building. Almost 90 percent of the women over age 25 are illiterate. In the predominantly rural state of Baluchistan, less than 2 percent of women can read and write.

Discrimination against girls and women in many developing countries is a devastating reality. It results in millions of individual tragedies, which at the end of the day leads to lost potential for entire countries. Studies show that there is a direct link between a country's attitude towards women and its progress socially and economically. The status of women is central to the health of a society. If one part suffers, so does the whole country.

     
    Answer the questions below based on the passage.
  1. Provide words or phrases that can best describe the meaning of 'gauge'.
  2. What does 'they' refer to ?
  3. What is considered the most undignified action faced by women in South Asia ?
  4. What is the main idea of paragraph VI ?
  5. What does the sentence 'If one part suffers, so does the whole country.' (paragraph VII) mean ?
     
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    Answers
     
1.   assess, measure
2.   Women who are ill-treated by their husbands and family. / Wives and mothers.
3.   They are 'sold' as goods in an arranged marriage wherein their family is offered a sum of money in exchange.
4.   Many women in developing countries are denied their rights to education.
5.   Lack of education can affect the development of a country both economically and socially.
     
 
 
 
 

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