This is a conversation lesson for higher-level adults and mature teenagers on the topic of everyday sexism. I have used extracts taken from the fantastic everyday sexism project website. Download the student handout, teacher’s notes, discussion language and powerpoint below:
Everyday Sexism Teacher notes
Everyday Sexism Student handout
Collaborative Speaking Phrases
Complete the table
Look at the vocabulary in bold and discuss the meaning with a partner
- Talk over sb = to talk loudly at the same time as someone else
- Talk down to sb = to talk to sb in a condescending way
- Wolf-whistle at sb = whistle in a suggestive way
- Catcall = make unwanted, inappropriate, suggestive comments
- Leer at sb = to look at someone in an obviously sexual way
- Grope sb = to grab someone in a sexual place, often unsolicited
- Gender roles = stereotypical jobs/responsibilities
- Mansplain = when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending, overconfident way.
CAE Part 3 Practice
Give out the collaborative language handout and show students the first slide of the powerpoint. If you want to use it as exam practice have them discuss the questions for 2 minutes, then stop them and give them one more minute to answer the following question:
- In which situation do women experience the most discrimination?
Repeat for 2nd slide then ask:
- Which is the most effective way to combat sexism?
Sexism in Advertising
Show students the examples of sexist advertising, ask them:
- Do you think the adverts are sexist? Why/why not?
- Can you think of any other examples?
Accounts of Everyday Sexism
Have students read the accounts from https://everydaysexism.com and discuss them in pairs or small groups.
I opened the door for another student recently and didn’t think twice about it, until he said to me, “Oh no, ladies first.” A little taken aback, I told him “You don’t need to worry about that, it’s 2017, we’re past that.” “No we’re not,” he said, and held on to the door that I was already holding open and refused to walk through it. That’s not helpful or chivalrous. That’s just being difficult and wasting my time. Just say thank you and keep walking boys!
Oppressed White Male
‘Man up’ ‘grow a pair’ ‘act like a real man’…all comments that personally I have heard almost every female in my adult life say to or about men at some point or another.
Rarely acknowledged but just as offensive as being told to get back in the kitchen.
On a cold and rainy morning having got up on my day off work, solely to walk my daughter to the bus stop. A stranger shouted at me to smile more. It’s a small incident but is another example of how some people feel it’s OK to police women’s presentation of themselves.
I was part of an all female group presenting a project within the architecture school at a very good German University. We were criticized – which is normal, and likely the work wasn’t brilliant – for some window details we had drawn that would have been very difficult to clean in real life. A valuable lesson. Until we were told that as women, we should know about cleaning… and perhaps we should focus on that instead of pursuing architecture.
My boyfriend is a doctor and I’m a medical student. So, one day, we were chatting at his parent’s house and I was saying that I was really interested in surgery and his father started laughing saying I am too small and petite to be a surgeon, while his mother started asking me who would take care of the children if I became a surgeon. I just let go and laughed it off, but I was really sorry to hear such nice people say those things.
You can either show students the original “10 hours walking in NYC as a woman”
Or show them the newer parody version in which a woman responds to the catcalling with funny comments:
Ask students to recount their experience of catcalling and answer the questions on the handout.