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第3册 - Unit 9, Section B - Is the Traditional Family Structure at Risk?

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Around the world, in rich and poor countries alike, the structure of family life is undergoing extremechanges, a new analysis of research from numerous countries has concluded.

"The idea that the family is a stable and orderly unit in which father serves as economic providerand mother serves as emotional care giver is a myth," said Judith Bruce, a leading author of the study.

"The reality is that trends like unmarried mothers, rising divorce rates and smaller households are notunique to America, but are occurring worldwide."

The report was released Tuesday by the Population Council, an international organization based inNew York that studies issues related to child bearing. Its graphs combine information obtained from avariety of population and household studies from dozens of countries.

A summary of the major findings:

- Whether because of abandonment, separation, divorce or death of a spouse, marriages aredissolving with increasing frequency. In many developed countries, divorce rates doubled between1970 and 1990, and in less-developed countries, about a quarter of first marriages end by the timewomen are in their 40s.

- Parents in their prime working years face growing burdens caring for children, who need to besupported through more years of education, and for their own parents, who are living longer.

- Unmarried mothers are increasingly common virtually everywhere, reaching as many as a thirdof all births in the north of Europe, for example.

- Children in single-parent households - usually families with only a mother present - are muchmore likely to be overtaken by poverty than those who live with two parents, largely because of theloss of support from the fathers.

- Even in households where fathers are present, mothers are carrying increasing economicresponsibility for children.

The theme that families are changing in similar ways, even in very different cultures, should bringabout new thinking on social policy, experts say, and in particular an increase in the importance offamilies in the agenda of governments.

The Population Council report says women around the world tend to work longer hours than men,both at home and on the job. In studies of seventeen less-developed countries, women's work hoursexceeded men's by 30 percent. Data from twelve industrialized countries found that women employedin regular jobs worked about 20 percent longer hours than regularly employed men.

Women's economic contributions also are becoming increasingly important.

In Ghana, the report said, a third of households with children are maintained primarily by women.

In the Philippines, women were found to contribute about a third of households' cash income, but 55percent of household support if the economic value of their activities at home, such as growing food orgathering hay to feed the family donkey, is included.

In the United States, a survey released earlier this month found that nearly half of employedmarried women contribute half or more of their family's income.

While the reasons for entering the work force may vary from country to country, womeneverywhere are finding that to give their children an adequate life, getting a job is no longer optional.

High rates of inflation may raise prices to the point where women are forced to earn moneythemselves.

"In traditional Bangladesh, a woman may need to get a job weaving textiles because her husbandwas much older, and died while the children were still young," Ms.Bruce said. "In Africa, an eighteen-year-old woman might need a job because she had a baby before marriage and has only a casualrelationship with the father, or she might have a husband who goes on to another marriage andsupports the children of that union."

"In Asia," she added, "the husband may have migrated for better economic opportunities andstopped sending money after a year or two. And everywhere, parents are finding that there are fewerjobs that pay enough to allow a family to scrape by financially." Even among rural people in less-developed countries, she said, the need for currency is becoming more urgent.

"Parents all over the world have an increasing awareness of the importance of learning, and thattheir children will need to be able to read and write and use numbers," Ms.Bruce said. "That meansthat instead of working with them in the fields, their 6-year-old is in school learning the alphabet andhow to add and subtract. As there are usually no scholarships, the money to pay for school fees,uniforms, transportation and supplies must come from the parents' purse." The fact that manydeveloping countries must trim money from public education as part of their debt-reduction planscreates further pressure on families, she said.

One apparent exception to the general trends is Japan, where single-parent households andunmarried mothers have remained relatively rare.

The Population Council report found that while most countries have done extensive research onwomen as mothers, men as fathers have been virtually invisible to researchers. But studies have foundthat although fathers' income usually exceeds mothers' income, women usually contribute a largerproportion of their income to their household, while men keep more for their personal use, such as forentertainment.

Collecting child support (money paid by divorced fathers to support their children) is also difficult.

Among divorced fathers, three quarters in Japan, almost two thirds in Argentina, half in Malaysia andtwo fifths in the United States do not pay child support, the report said.

Words: 908

New Words undergo vt. 经历,经受,忍受

conclude v. 1.推断,得出结论 2.结束

orderly a. 整齐的,井然有序的

council n. 理事会,委员会

graph n. 图表,曲线图

finding n. 调查(或研究)的结果

dissolve v. 1.(使)结束,(使)解体 2.溶解

burden n. 重负;(责任、义务等的)重担

vt. 加负荷于;使挑重担

north n. 北方,北部

a. 北方的,北部的,向北的

ad. 向北,朝北

overtake v. 1.突然降临于,意外侵袭 2.追上,赶上,超过

theme n. 题目,主题

agenda n. 议程

maintain vt. 1.支撑;赡养,抚养 2.维持,保有

contribute v. 1.捐献,贡献 2.投稿 3.有助于,促成

hay n. (用作饲料或覆盖的)干草

donkey n. 驴

vary v. (使)不同,更改,改变

adequate a. 足够的;令人满意的

optional a. 可任意选择的,非强制的,随意的

inflation n. 通货膨胀

weave v. 1.编织 2.编造,汇编

textile n. 纺织品,织物

casual a. 1.漠不关心的,不经意的 2.(衣服等)非正式的,随便的 3.偶尔的,偶然的

▲migrate vi. 1.移居,迁移 2.迁徙,定期迁移;洄游

scrape v. 1.勉强维持 2.刮,擦

n. 1.刮,擦;刮擦声 2.(因愚蠢行为而造成的)困境

currency n. 1.货币,通货 2.流传,通用

urgent a. 紧急的,急迫的,紧要的

alphabet n. 字母表

subtract v. 减去,扣除

scholarship n. 1.奖学金 2.学问,学识

purse n. (女式)钱包

trim vt. 1.削减,减少,缩减 2.修理,修剪

invisible a. 看不见的

entertainment n. 1.娱乐;招待 2.娱乐活动,文娱节目

Phrases and Expressions serve as 担任... ...;作... ...用,起... ...作用

be related to 与... ...相关,与... ...有联系

dozens of 许多,数十个

by the time 到... ...的时候

care for 照看,看护

bring about 使发生

in particular 特别地,尤其 特别的

to the point 达到... ...的程度

go on to 转入

scrape by 勉强维持

instead of 代替,而不是

Proper Names

Judith Bruce 朱迪斯·布鲁斯

the Population Council 人口委员会

Ghana 加纳(西非国家)

the Philippines 菲律宾(东南亚国家)

Bangladesh 孟加拉国(南亚国家)

Africa 非洲

Asia 亚洲

Argentina 阿根廷(南美洲中南部国家)

Malaysia 马来西亚(东南亚国家)

整个世界,不论是在穷国还是富国,家庭生活的结构都在发生着极大的变化。这是对许多国家作了新的研究分析后得出的结论。

这份研究报告的一位主要撰稿人朱迪斯·布鲁斯说:"认为家庭是个稳定有序的单位,父亲是经济支柱、母亲是情感给予者的观点已经不现实了。

事实上,像未婚妈妈的出现、离婚率上升和家庭变小这样的趋势,并不是美国独有,而是发生在世界各地。"

这份报告是星期二由人口委员会公布的。人口委员会是一家研究儿童养育问题的国际组织,总部设在纽约。

其图表所包含的信息来自对几十个国家的人口和家庭所做的各种研究。

主要发现概括如下:

不论是因为遗弃、分居、离婚,还是因为配偶死亡,婚姻解体的频率都在上升。

在许多发达国家,1970年至1990年间,离婚率翻了一番,而在不太发达的国家,约有四分之一的首次婚姻都在女方40多岁时解体。

父母在其黄金工作年间面临着越来越重的双重负担:一是抚养孩子,孩子需要他们的支持去接受更多的教育;二是赡养父母,父母现在的寿命比以前长。

未婚妈妈越来越常见,几乎到处都有。比如在北欧,未婚生育的孩子占出生率的三分之一。

单亲家庭的孩子──通常是只有母亲的家庭,较之与双亲一起生活的孩子,更可能遭受贫穷,这主要是因为缺少父亲的经济支持。

即使是在有父亲的家庭,母亲为孩子承担的经济责任也越来越多。

专家说,即使在不同的文化里,家庭改变的方式也是类似的,这一议题应当促使人们重新思考社会政策,政府的议事日程尤其应该更多地考虑家庭问题。

人口委员会的报告说,全世界的妇女,无论在家里还是在工作岗位上,都往往比男性工作的时间长。

对17个不太发达的国家的研究表明,妇女的工作时间比男性多出30%。

从12个工业国收集的数据中发现:较之男性普通雇员,女性普通雇员的工作时间多20%。

妇女在经济上的贡献也越来越重要。

报告指出,在加纳,三分之一有孩子的家庭主要由妇女支撑。

在菲律宾,人们发现家庭现金收入的三分之一来自妇女,若是将她们做的诸如种粮食和捡干草喂家里的驴之类的家务劳动的经济价值计算在内,那她们提供的家庭经济支持将占55%。

在美国,本月初公布的一项调查表明,将近一半的已婚职业女性的收入占家庭总收入的一半或更多。

尽管加入工作大军的原因可能因国家而不同,但各地的妇女都发现,要让孩子丰衣足食,唯一的选择就是找一份工作。

高通货膨胀率致使物价上升到了妇女不得不自己挣钱的地步。

"在孟加拉国,传统上一名女子需要找一份纺织工作,因为孩子年幼时丈夫就年事已高或者已经去世,"布鲁斯女士说,

"在非洲,18岁的女子就可能需要一份工作,因为她还未结婚就生了孩子,而她与孩子的父亲只有一种若即若离的关系,或者她的丈夫可能另外结婚,需要扶养与别人生的孩子。"

"在亚洲,"她接着说,"丈夫可能会为寻找更好的赚钱机会迁移他处,一两年后就不再给家里寄钱了。

无论在何处,做父母的都发现很少有一份能让一个家庭经济上不发愁的工作。"

她还说,甚至在一些不太发达的国家的农村人口当中,对金钱的需求也变得越来越迫切了。

"全世界的父母都越来越意识到学习的重要性,意识到自己的孩子需要能读会写,会计算,"布鲁斯女士说,

"这就意味着他们6岁大的孩子不能再跟着自己在地里干活,而是要到学校里学习字母和加减法。

由于通常没有奖学金,学费、校服费、交通费还有必需品费,都必须父母掏腰包。"

她说,许多发展中国家经常将削减公立教育经费作为减轻债务计划的一部分。这一事实更加重了家庭的压力。

对于这一总体趋势,日本明显是个例外。在日本,单亲家庭和未婚妈妈一直相对较少。

人口委员会的报告发现,尽管多数国家都对身为母亲的女性做了大量研究,但对身为父亲的男性,研究者们却几乎视而不见。

但已有研究发现,尽管父亲的收入通常要超过母亲的收入,母亲通常会将自己大部分的收入用于家庭,而父亲的多用于个人消费,如娱乐等。

收取孩子的抚养费(离了婚的父亲支付的用于抚养孩子的费用)也是件难事。

报告说,在所有离了婚的父亲当中,日本有四分之三,阿根廷有大约三分之二,马来西亚有二分之一,美国有五分之二的人都不支付孩子的抚养费。

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