International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. However, we don’t need to forget that everyday should be a day for reflection, advocacy and action.

Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.

Maya Angelou

Here you have some activities related to gender issues that will give you some ideas to cope with this topic.

Are we equals? (Listening, B1 level)

Complete the transcript of the video with the missing facts and figures. You will find the answers below.

We’re equals, aren’t we 007? Yet it is (1) … and a man is still likely to earn more money than a woman, even one doing the same job. You have a far better chance of entering political office or becoming a company director. As a man you are less likely to be judged for promiscuous behaviour, which is just as well, frankly. And hardly any chance of falling victim to sexual assault. And unlike the (2) … women in the UK who lose their jobs annually due to pregnancy, there would be virtually no risk to your career if you chose to become a parent … or became one accidentally.
For someone with such a fondness for women, I wonder if you have ever considered what it might be like to be one? The world has changed, but the numbers remain stuck against us. Women are responsible for (3) … of the work done worldwide, yet earn any (4) … of the total income and own (5) … of the property. It’s not just about money and power. Every year (6) … million girls are deprived of even a basic education and a staggering (7) … million are sexually assaulted on their way to school. We are afraid to walk the streets at night, yet some of us are even more afraid to return to our own homes. At least (8) … are victims of domestic violence. And every week, (9) … women in the UK are killed by a current or former partner.
So are we equals? Until the answer is yes we must never stop asking

(1) 2011 (2) 30,000 (3) 2/3 (4) 10% (5) 1% (6) 70 (7) 60 (8) 1 in 4 (9) 2

Stay-at-home dads (Listening, B1 level)

Listen to this piece on stay-at-home dads and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence. You will find the answers below.

1. The number of stay at home dads in the U.S. has
A. doubled.
B. tripled.
C. quadrupled.

2. Economists suggest that today’s stay-at-home dads
A. are less educated than working fathers.
B. lost their jobs during the recessions.
C. place a higher priority on relationships than on money.

3. According to the text, one reason women are earning more money now than in the past is
A. jobs performed by women are currently in high demand.
B. laws guaranteeing fairer salaries for women.
C. more women are graduating from college.

4. Being a stay-at-home dad can be good because a father’s parenting style
A. develops a child’s confidence.
B. is less emotionally involved.
C. is more comforting and reassuring for the child.

5. Working mothers
A. connect well with their children.
B. find it difficult to engage with their children.
C. tend not to have much influence on their children’s upbringing.

6. Stay-at-home dads
A. are likely to lack social recognition.
B. are often unable to go back to their professional lives.
C. usually have little self-esteem.

7. The most satisfied stay-at-home dads are dads
A. who also work from home.
B. who have chosen to stay home.
C. whose wives earn a very comfortable salary.

1B 2B 3C 4A 5A 6A 7B

Male bonuses double those of women, says study (Listening, B2 level)

The pay gap between men and women is made bigger by bonus payments given to male managers which are far higher than those for women, says the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

1 How much did men earn in bonuses on average last year? And women?
2 Name, at least, two of the three factors that are mentioned for this difference in salary.
3 Why are women reluctant to take legal action?
4 What does ‘17%’ refer to?
5 And ‘three’?
6 What is a major challenge for employers and the government?

To check your answers, you can read the transcript below.

The gender pay gap has been highlighted and condemned before now. Men in the same sort of jobs as women being paid more. Today we learnt that’s been made worse by the gulf between bonuses paid out to executives. A survey by the Chartered Management Institute shows that men earned average bonuses of more than £6,400 last year compared with just over 3,000 for women. In the most senior roles, male directors got bonuses of £63,700 on average whereas their female counterparts received just over 36,000. The group says there are several factors behind this.
Women are perhaps less adept than their male counterparts at negotiating for pay rises in bonuses. The second is, of course, that women leave the workforce to have children and often return with less confidence than they need. And lastly at the top it’s a very male-dominated culture, that can put women off.
If there’s discrimination over pay, women can take legal action, but experts say that’s not always straightforward.
It can take many months if not year to get a full hearing. A tiny proportion of claims get to a full hearing. And inevitably I think some employees may be reticent about bringing claims because of the impact it may have on them in the market.
Today’s report comes at a time of intense debate about how to increase female representation at senior levels across the business world. Of the top one hundred companies just 17% of directors are women. Although that’s upped over the last year, there’s widespread recognition that more needs to be done to boost that number.
Just three of the top one hundred have female chief executives, and business organizations acknowledge that while progress is being made, there’s still a long way to go on boardroom diversity.
The honest truth is that we need to do a lot more and we need to do… we need to move faster, so we need to look at the pipeline, how can we stop women from leaving businesses, perhaps when they have children, and we also need to look at other schemes like mentoring schemes and networking schemes that encourage women to stay in the workplace and get women networking with other women in a similar position.
Ending the agenda pay gap and ensuring equality in the workplace remains a major challenge for employers and the government.
Hugh Pym, BBC News

10 Questions for Anne-Marie Slaughter (Listening, C1 Level)

On this Time interview Anne-Marie Slaughter, the foreign policy analyst, talks about why she left her job at the U.S. State Department, motherhood and the new feminism.

1 Anne-Marie Slaughter was dismissed from the State Department.
2 Anne-Marie Slaughter has been in the center of a controversy because of her situation in the State Department.
3 Femminists object to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s ideas on work and motherhood.
4 The magazine that published Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article sold 800,000 issues.
5 In American work culture, mothers are not considered suitable for all the jobs.
6 Anne-Marie Slaughter objects to the fact that a worker’s value is measured by the time they spend at work every day.
7 Anne-Marie Slaughter understands why her professional activities don’t have as much recognition as her article on work and motherhood.
8 Anne-Marie Slaughter still gets nervous when talking in front of a large audience.

1F 2F 3T 4F 5T 6F 7T 8F


some inspiring material for reflection. I hope you enjoy it!

Big Little Lies (Series)

Centering around the lives of five women, the show is a compelling commentary of friendship, trauma, and motherhood. At its core, the show is feminist in nature, putting women at the forefront of the plot and placing them in the center of the action.

Mind the gap (documentary)

A short documentary about gender discrimination.

Alicia Keys on make-up (interview)

This is Alicia Keys interview for Time Magazine a few years ago. Her idea is an example of how women are able to make their own decisions regardless what others may think.

I refuse to be a victim by Jenny Woo (song)

The princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace (Poetry)

your hips will try to burst through your skin.

your thighs will try to grow together like a mermaid’s tail.

a soft garden will try to sprout on your legs.

(& between your legs, on your upper lip, on your armpits, etc.)

no, you are not just here to be sexy for him.

the world begins & ends when you say so.

-what they don’t want you to know