Acting on the recommendation of a British government committee investigating the high incidence in white lead factories of illness among employees, most of whom were women, the Home Secretary proposed in 1895 that Parliament enact legislation that would prohibit women from holding most jobs in white lead factories. Although the Women’s Industrial Defense Committee (WIDC), formed in 1892 in response to earlier legislative attempts to restrict women’s labor, did not discount the white lead trade’s potential health dangers, it opposed the proposal, viewing it as yet another instance of limiting women’s work opportunity.
Also opposing the proposal was the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women (SPEW), which attempted to challenge it by investigating the causes of illness in white lead factories. SPEW contended, and WIDC concurred, that controllable conditions in such factories were responsible for the development of lead poisoning. SPEW provided convincing evidence that lead poisoning could be avoided if workers were careful and clean and if already extant workforce safety regulations were stringently enforced. However, the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), which had ceased in the late 1880s to oppose restrictions on women’s labor, supported the eventually enacted proposal, in part because safety regulations were generally not being enforced in white lead factories, where there were no unions (and little prospect of any) to pressure employers to comply with safety regulations.
Questions 1-3: Choose one correct answer ONLY for each question, based on the information given in the passage.
1. The passage is primarily concerned with:
A. representing various groups’ views of the motives of those proposing certain legislation
B. contrasting the reasoning of various groups concerning their positions on certain proposed legislation
C. tracing the process whereby certain proposed legislation was eventually enacted
D. assessing the success of tactics adopted by various groups with respect to certain proposed legislation
E. evaluating the arguments of various groups concerning certain proposed legislation
2. Which of the following, if true, would most clearly support the contention attributed to SPEW as mentioned in the second sentence of the second paragraph?
A. Those white lead factories that most strongly enforced regulations concerning worker safety and hygiene had the lowest incidences of lead poisoning among employees.
B. The incidence of lead poisoning was much higher among women who worked in white lead factories than among women who worked in other types of factories.
C. There were many household sources of lead that could have contributed to the incidence of lead poisoning among women who also worked outside the home in the late nineteenth century.
D. White lead factories were more stringent than were certain other types of factories in their enforcement of workplace safety regulations.
E. Even brief exposure to the conditions typically found in white lead factories could cause lead poisoning among factory workers.
3. The passage suggests that WIDC differed from WTUL in which of the following ways?
A. WIDC believed that the existing safety regulations were adequate to product women’s health, whereas WTUL believed that such regulations needed to be strengthened.
B. WIDC believed that unions could not succeed in pressuring employers to comply with such regulations, whereas WTUL believed that unions could succeed in doing so.
C. WIDC believed that lead poisoning in white lead factories could be avoided by controlling conditions there, whereas WTUL believed that lead poisoning in such factories could not be avoided no matter how stringently safety regulations were enforced.
D. At the time that the legislation concerning white lead factories was proposed, WIDC was primarily concerned with addressing health conditions in white lead factories, whereas WTUL was concerned with improving working conditions in all types of factories.
E. At the time that WIDC was opposing legislative attempts to restrict women’s labor, WTUL had already ceased to do so.
Source: Graduate Management Admission Council
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