Legislation exists in most Asian countries to protect women both from the effects of disruption of her family and from exploitation of her labour. Laws intended to protect pregnant women merely end by discriminating against all married women in the labour-surplus markets of Asia, since employers will hire unmarried women or men, rather than bear the cost of paying absent workers. The degree of literacy among women is an important factor in their appreciation of their legal rights and in widening the range of possibilities for employment. Japanese women have long enjoyed equality of opportunity for education. A survey of school textbooks in Bangladesh revealed both the low representation of women in stories and their characterization as passive, resistant to change, unintelligent and intellectually inferior to men. In a west Punjabi village, literacy at the time of the 1961 Census was 4.8 per cent for both men and women, with religious education being more important for women.