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G-PreRC passage: During the nineteenth century, occupation

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G-PreRC passage: During the nineteenth century, occupation Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:58 am
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GMAT-Prep RC: Final explanation at one place.

During the nineteenth century, occupational information about women that was provided by the United States census-a population count conducted each decade-became more detailed and precise in response to social changes. Through 1840, simple enumeration by household mirrored a home-based agricultural economy and hierarchical social order: the head of the household (presumed male or absent) was specified by name, whereas other household members were only indicated by the total number of persons counted in various categories, including occupational categories. Like farms, most enterprises were family-run, so that the census measured economic activity as an attribute of the entire household, rather than of individuals.

The 1850 census, partly responding to antislavery and women's rights movements, initiated the collection of specific information about each individual in a household. Not until 1870 was occupational information analyzed by gender: the census superintendent reported 1.8 million women employed outside the home in "gainful and reputable occupations." In addition, he arbitrarily attributed to each family one woman "keeping house." Overlap between the two groups was not calculated until 1890, when the rapid entry of women into the paid labor force and social issues arising from industrialization were causing women's advocates and women statisticians to press for more thorough and accurate accounting of women's occupations and wages.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) explain and critique the methods used by early statisticians
(B) compare and contrast a historical situation with a current-day one
(C) describe and explain a historical change
(D) discuss historical opposition to an established institution
(E) trace the origin of a contemporary controversy

Key Takeaways from the Passage:

The author does not provide his/her opinion.

The author is merely concerned with stating facts.

The author talks about the changes in the United States Census methodology between the years 1840-1890.

There is also a mention on how certain Women’s Advocates and women statisticians pressed for changes in the US Census Methodology.

Imp Note: the author is merely stating that women’s advocates were pressing for change - not to be confused with the Author pressing for Changes in the Census Taking Methodology.

A. Incorrect - A critique is an opinion. The whole passage is a fact, not an opinion. Hence Incorrect!

B. Incorrect - There is no mention of a current-day situation. Clear word mismatch! Changes between the years 1840-1890 are talked about.

C. Correct - As there is no opinion, the words 'describe' and 'explain' are perfect. This clearly matches the tone of the passage.

D. Incorrect - There is no mention of any historical opposition in the passage. There is no opinion ... so opposition can't be present.

E. Incorrect - There is no discussion of any sort of controversy in the passage. There is no opinion ... so controversy can't be present.

_________________
Sandeep Gupta,
Director, Ivy-GMAT
Bangalore, India
http://ivy-gmat.blogspot.com
GMAT Scores: 800, 770. Minimum Quant: 51; Minimum Verbal: 45 (99th percentile)

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