Source: Official Guide Revised GRE 1st Ed. Part 4; Set 2; #6

3

It can be inferred from the passage that

It can be inferred from the passage that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors in the United States following the Second World War differed in which of the following respects? While most scholarship on women’s employment in the United States recognizes that the Second World War (1939–1945) dramatically changed the role of women in the workforce, these studies also acknowledge that few women remained in manufacturing jobs once men returned from the war. But in agriculture, unlike other industries where women were viewed as temporary workers, women’s employment did not end with the war. Instead, the expansion of agriculture and a steady decrease in the number of male farmworkers combined to cause the industry to hire more women in the postwar years. Consequently, the 1950s saw a growing number of women engaged in farm labor, even though rhetoric in the popular media called for the return of women to domestic life. The rate of expansion in each sector, The percentage of employees in each sector who were men, The trend in the wages of men employed in each sector, The attitude of the popular media toward the employment of women in each sector, The extent to which women in each sector were satisfied with their jobs composer

3 Explanations

1

Jingtao Zhu

Hi Chris, I found it problematic to infer from "Female employees are entering agricultural sectors while they are leaving manufacturing sectors" that the percentages of male workers in the two industries are different. The premise simply says that the percentages are changing in opposite directions, but does not state whether the final outcome is different or not. Can you explain this, please?

I agree E is problematic but just as severely as the given answer.

Jan 11, 2017 • Comment

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Jingtao,

If we look at the passage extremely closely and get very technical about it, you are right that we cannot state with absolute certainty that the percentage of male employees in each sector is different.

However, the paragraph does say that women are leaving the manufacturing sector, and are entering the agricultural sector. The paragraph also tells us that men are leaving the agricultural sector.

It may be true that there was some brief point in time (after WWII) where the percentage of male employees in each sector was the same. However, these percentages were moving in opposite directions (they were moving away from each other), so it's pretty safe to say that overall, the percentages were different.

Also, keep in mind that our job is to find the BEST answer choice. The best choice may not always be perfect. Here, none of the other answer choices work. The passage does not tell us that women were leaving manufacturing industries because they were dissatisfied with these jobs - so E does not work. Since no other answer choice works, we can conclude that E is the best (and correct) answer.

Jan 12, 2017 • Reply

David Liu

Agreeing with jintao here, since it is mentioning "each sector", we know that the percentage of men is changing in the agricultural sector. But the other "sector" mentioned would be manufacturing, we don't know for SURE that the percentage of men is changing in manufacturing, just seems like a stretch, just as much as the "rate of expansion in each sector" answer

Jan 11, 2018 • Reply

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

David, I do see where both you and Jingtao are coming from. And, for the reasons Sam mentioned above, this is a weak answer... but still "correct," in the sense that all other answers are worse.

Another interesting thing about answer choice B, the official correct answer, is that it could be interpreted in two different ways. This is because the wording of the question itself is a bit ambiguous. Let's take a look at this question again:

"It can be inferred from the passage that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors in the United States following the Second World War differed in which of the following respects?"

Now, this question *could* be asking how the manufacturing and agricultural sectors compared directly to each other in the era that occurred after WWII. That's the construction you, Sam and Jingtao have all put on the question, and it's not necessarily an incorrect one.

However, we could also take this question in a different way. Arguably, by asking how manufacturing and agriculture differed *after* WWII, it's possible that the question is asking for a comparison between two time periods, not two sectors. In other words, maybe you are being asked "what can be inferred about how both agriculture and industry changed after WWII, compared to the way they were *during* WWII?"

In that case, it is obvious that both sectors saw a a change in the number of men when the war ended. More women were in both sectors during the war, and when men returned from war, the passage suggests that men replaced women in most sectors, including industry, but that the number of men in agriculture actually dropped, post-war. In this sense, "the percentage of employees in each sector who were men" differed after the war, compared to what the percentages were during the war. And this would make (B) clearly correct.

I understand that this adds an extra layer of frustration for test-takers-- my additional explanation indicates that either (B) is the best of a set of weak answers or a good answer, and that it's open to interpretation because the question itself is a weak, ambiguously worded question. Such is the GRE... sometimes. Certain GRE questions are simply unsatisfying. But it's always good to prepare for questions that are tricky due to poor design. Just as you'll see these in the official materials, you'll also see some questions like this on test day.

Jan 12, 2018 • Reply

Jingtao Zhu

Hi David and David, let me start off by saying thanks for the continued discussion on this comment. It's been a long time and when I tried to engage with your response just now, it felt impossible to concentrate. I guess I have lost my stamina after I survived the test. Good luck to you, David L. And thanks for the support, David R.. Magoosh definitely has made everything way less suffering.

Jan 13, 2018 • Reply

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

Thanks for your kind words, Jingtao. And congratulations on surviving your test.

Jan 15, 2018 • Reply

1

Prabhleen Singh

Why can't the choice D be the correct option since in the last line it states that "even through rhetoric in the popular media called for the return of women to domestic life."
So does it not state that media didn't want women to work in either of the sectors?

Mar 18, 2016 • Comment

Adam

Hi Prabhleen,

Happy to help :)

The question asks:

It can be inferred from the passage that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors in the United States following the Second World War **differed** in which of the following respects?

So, we're looking for a way in which these two sectors were different.

As you stated, the media treated the role of women in these two sectors similarly. Therefore, it does not answer the question.

Mar 18, 2016 • Reply

1

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Oct 3, 2012 • Comment

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