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Why Some Women Cross the Finish Line Ahead of Men: IELTS Reading Answer

Updated on 04 March, 2024

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

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Here is a brief insight into the IELTS reading passage- Why some women cross the finish line ahead of men. You will get insights into the types of questions asked in the examination, along with the correct answers. This will help you understand how to approach these passages and provide answers accordingly. 

Why Some Women Cross the Finish Line Ahead of Men: IELTS Reading Practice Passage


Women who apply for jobs in middle or senior management have a higher success rate than men, according to an employment survey. But of course far fewer of them apply for these positions. The study, by recruitment consultants NB Selection, shows that while one in six men who appear on interview shortlists get jobs, the figure rises to one in four for women.


The study concentrated on applications for management positions in the $45,000 to $110,000 salary range and found that women are more successful than men in both the private and public sectors Dr Elisabeth Marx from London-based NB Selection described the findings as encouraging for women, in that they send a positive message to them to apply for interesting management positions. But she added, “We should not lose sight of the fact that significantly fewer women apply for senior positions in comparison with men.”


Reasons for higher success rates among women are difficult to isolate. One explanation suggested is that if a woman candidate manages to get on a shortlist, then she has probably already proved herself to be an exceptional candidate. Dr Marx said that when women apply for positions they tend to be better qualified than their male counterparts but are more selective and conservative in their job search. Women tend to research thoroughly before applying for positions or attending interviews. Men, on the other hand, seem to rely on their ability to sell themselves and to convince employers that any shortcomings they have will not prevent them from doing a good job.


Managerial and executive progress made by women is confirmed by the annual survey of boards of directors carried out by Korn/Ferry/Carre/ Orban International. This year the survey shows a doubling of the number of women serving as non-executive directors compared with the previous year. However, progress remains painfully slow and there were still only 18 posts filled by women out of a total of 354 nonexecutive positions surveyed. Hilary Sears, a partner with Korn/Ferry, said, “Women have raised the level of grades we are employed in but we have still not broken through barriers to the top.”


In Europe a recent feature of corporate life in the recession has been the delayering of management structures. Sears said that this has halted progress for women in as much as de-layering has taken place either where women are working or in layers they aspire to. Sears also noted a positive trend from the recession, which has been the growing number of women who have started up on their own.


In business as a whole, there are a number of factors encouraging the prospect of greater equality in the workforce. Demographic trends suggest that the number of women going into employment is steadily increasing. In addition a far greater number of women are now passing through higher education, making them better qualified to move into management positions.


Organisations such as the European Women’s Management Development Network provide a range of opportunities for women to enhance their skills and contacts. Through a series of both pan-European and national workshops and conferences the barriers to women in employment are being broken down. However, Ariane Berthoin Antal, director of the International Institute for Organisational Change of Archamps in France, said that there is only anecdotal evidence of changes in recruitment patterns. And she said, “It’s still so hard for women to even get on to shortlists -there are so many hurdles and barriers.’ Antal agreed that there have been some positive signs but said “Until there is a belief among employers, until they value the difference, nothing will change.”

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Why Some Women Cross the Finish Line Ahead of Men IELTS Reading Answers

Questions 1-6

Reading Passage has seven paragraphs (A-G). State which paragraph discusses each of the points below.

Write the appropriate letter (A-G) in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.

The salary range studied in the NB Selection survey.B

1._____The drawbacks of current company restructuring patterns.
Answer: E    (This paragraph mentions delayering of company management structures, hindering the progress of women in organizations as a result)

2._____Associations that provide support for professional women.
Answer: G    (This paragraph talks about support organizations for women in professional life, including the European Women’s Management Development Network)

3._____The success rate of female job applicants for management positions.
Answer: A    (This paragraph talks about how one out of six men who come on interview shortlists find employment, while the figure goes up to one out of four for women)

4._____Male and female approaches to job applications.
Answer: C    (This paragraph clearly mentions the varying approaches taken towards job applications by men and women)

5._____Reasons why more women are being employed in the business sector.
Answer: F   (This paragraph mentions the reasons, including higher educational qualifications and other factors)

6._____The improvement in female numbers on company management structures.
Answer: D    (Surveys of boards and other findings are mentioned in this passage)

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Questions 7-10

The author makes reference to three consultants in the Reading Passage.

Which of the list of points below do these consultants make? In boxes 7-10 write

if the point is made by Dr Marx
Sif the point is made by Hilary Sears
Aif the point is made by Ariane Berthoin Antal

7._____Selection procedures do not favor women.
Answer: A    (This is mentioned in paragraph G for your perusal)

8._____The number of female-run businesses is increasing.
Answer: S    (This is mentioned in paragraph E)

9._____Male applicants exceed female applicants for top posts.
Answer: M    (This is mentioned in paragraph B) 

10._____Women hold higher positions now than they used to.
Answer: S    (This is present in paragraph D) 

Questions 11-14

Using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS, answer the following questions.

Write your answers in boxes 11-14 on your answer sheet.

11.What change has there been in the number of women in top management positions detailed in the annual survey? _____

Answer: (it has) double(d)/doubling    (Paragraph D mentions how the number of women has doubled in management positions)

12    What aspect of company structuring has disadvantaged women?_____
Answer: de-layering (Paragraph E mentions this delayering of management structures which have obstructed progress for women)

13    What information tells us that more women are working nowadays?_____
Answer: demographic trends    (Paragraph F mentions how demographic trends indicate a higher number of women in the workforce)

14    Which group of people should change their attitude to recruitment?_____
Answer: employers (The last paragraph clearly indicates how recruitment attitudes should change amongst employers)

Why Some Women Cross the Finish Line Ahead of Men: Answer Table: 

1. E8. S
2. G9. M
3. A10. S
4. C11. (it has) double(d)/doubling
5. F12. de-layering
6. D13. demographic trends
7. A14. employers

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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