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Date: September 18, 2008
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Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on gender and Rwanda.

THE ARTICLE

Rwanda - world’s first women-led country

Rwanda will soon become the first country in the world where female politicians outnumber male politicians. The small central African country has made huge progress since its tragic genocide in the 1990s. It can now proudly call itself a beacon of sexual equality. The ruling party coalition won 78% of seats in the election. Women took at least 44 out of a total of the 80 seats. Women may still win another three undecided seats. The head of the country’s election commission stated: “It's clear women representatives will be more than 50 per cent." Since the genocide, the government has encouraged women into politics. Many in Rwanda say the election results show that people are fed up with male-dominated politics. They say women will bring freshness and change to the nation.


 
 

Women’s groups were quick to praise the government of President Paul Kagame for promoting such a strong gender equality programme. A female voter told the BBC’s Focus on Africa show that the new political landscape would help strengthen her country. She explained: "Men, especially in our culture, used to think that women are there to be in the house, cook food, look after the children... but the real problems of a family are known by a woman and when they do it, they help a country to get much better." A local newspaper editor told the Voice of America website of his new pride in his country: “We have really been the first…where the women have broken the glass ceiling…now it's like we are enlightened. We are no longer in this backward sort of thinking,” he said.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. ELECTIONS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about elections. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

female politicians / huge progress / genocide / coalitions / elections / being fed up / women’s groups / political landscape / pride in one’s country / backward thinking

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. WOMEN: How would women change the world if they outnumbered men in different areas? Complete the table with your partner(s)? Change partners and share your ideas.

Women as…

How they’d change things

Better or worse than now?

Politicians

 

 

Military generals

 

 

Police officers

 

 

Taxi drivers

 

 

CEOs

 

 

City planners

 

 

4. WOMEN IN CHARGE: Students A strongly believe that the world would be a much better place if women ran the show; Students B strongly believe women in charge would lead to disaster. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. PRIDE IN ONE’S COUNTRY: Rate the following things about your country from 10 (= I am so, so proud) to 1 (I’m totally ashamed). Change partners to share and discuss your ratings.

_____  my leader

_____  my country’s record on equality

_____  our environmental record

_____  our sports teams

_____  my culture

_____  my history

_____  racial harmony

_____  democracy

6. EQUALITY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘equality’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

There will soon be more female than male politicians in Rwanda.

T / F

b.

Rwanda suffered a terrible genocide earlier in this decade.

T / F

c.

Women took 47 out of 80 seats in the recent election.

T / F

d.

A lot of people in Rwanda became tired of male politicians.

T / F

e.

Women’s groups said the equality was just cosmetic and not real.

T / F

f.

A woman voter said women leaders would make her country stronger.

T / F

g.

A newspaper editor said women had smashed a lot of windows.

T / F

h.

The editor suggested Rwanda could now start thinking positively.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

huge

a.

terrible

2

tragic

b.

undeveloped

3.

coalition

c.

tired

4.

encouraged

d.

pay tribute to

5.

fed up

e.

alliance

6.

praise

f.

brought up to date

7.

strengthen

g.

enormous

8.

pride

h.

supported

9.

enlightened

i.

joy

10.

backward

j.

toughen

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

female politicians outnumber

a.

to praise the government

2

made huge

b.

78% of seats

3.

The ruling party coalition won

c.

the glass ceiling

4.

the government has encouraged

d.

be in the house

5.

people are fed

e.

women into politics

6.

Women’s groups were quick

f.

sort of thinking

7.

the new political

g.

progress

8.

women are there to

h.

male politicians

9.

women have broken

i.

up

10.

We are no longer in this backward

j.

landscape

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Rwanda will __________ become the first country in the world where female politicians outnumber male politicians. The small __________ African country has made __________ progress since its tragic genocide in the 1990s. It can now proudly call itself a beacon of sexual equality. The ruling party __________ won 78% of seats in the election. Women took at least 44 out of a total of the 80 seats. Women may still win another three __________ seats. The head of the country’s election commission stated: “It's __________ women representatives will be more than 50 per cent." Since the genocide, the government has encouraged women into politics. Many in Rwanda say the election results show that people are __________ up with male-dominated politics. They say women will bring freshness and __________ to the nation.

 

clear
huge
change
coalition
soon
fed
central
undecided

Women’s groups were __________ to praise the government of President Paul Kagame for promoting such a strong gender equality programme. A female __________ told the BBC’s Focus on Africa show that the new political landscape would help __________ her country. She explained: "Men, especially in our culture, used to think that women are there to be in the house, cook food, __________ after the children... but the real problems of a family are known by a woman and when they do it, they __________ a country to get much better." A local newspaper editor told the Voice of America website of his new __________ in his country: “We have really been the first…where the women have broken the __________ ceiling…now it's like we are enlightened. We are no longer in this __________ sort of thinking,” he said.

 

look
 
pride
voter
help
backward
quick
strengthen
glass

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

Rwanda will soon become the first country in ___________________ female politicians outnumber male politicians. The small central African country has ___________________ since its tragic genocide in the 1990s. It can now proudly call itself a beacon of sexual equality. The ruling party coalition won 78% ___________________ election. Women took at least 44 out of a total of the 80 seats. Women may still win another three undecided seats. ___________________ country’s election commission stated: “It's clear women representatives will be more than 50 per cent." Since the genocide, the government has encouraged ___________________. Many in Rwanda say the election results show that people ___________________ male-dominated politics. They say women will bring freshness and change to the nation.

Women’s groups were ___________________ the government of President Paul Kagame for promoting such a strong gender equality programme. A female voter told the BBC’s Focus on Africa show that the ___________________  would help strengthen her country. She explained: "Men, especially in our culture, used to think that women are there to be in the house, cook food, ___________________ children... but the real problems of a family are known by a woman and when they do it, they help a country to get much better." A local newspaper editor told the Voice of America website ___________________ in his country: “We have really been the first…where the women have broken ___________________ …now it's like we are enlightened. We are no longer in this backward ___________________,” he said.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘gender’ and ‘equality’.

gender

equality

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • soon
  • central
  • beacon
  • 78%
  • encouraged
  • fed
  • quick
  • programme
  • landscape
  • pride
  • glass
  • backward

STUDENT EQUALITY SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about equality in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

GENDER EQUALITY DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘equality’?

c)

Does gender equality (or inequality) affect your life?

d)

What do you think of female politicians outnumbering male politicians in Rwanda?

e)

Are there many female politicians in your country?

f)

Are female politicians better or worse than male politicians?

g)

Why does gender inequality exist?

h)

Do you think Rwanda is now a beacon of sexual equality?

i)

What are you fed up with in your country’s politics?

j)

What differences do women bring to political leadership?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What needs to change in your country to bring gender equality?

c)

What areas of society are men too dominant in your country?

d)

Would the world be different if women outnumbered men in key positions?

e)

Are women stronger leaders?

f)

Are women there to be in the house and look after the kids?

g)

What other countries have “broken the glass ceiling”?

h)

What countries do you know of where there is very little gender equality?

i)

Is there any kind of backward thinking in your country?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Rwanda’s female politicians?

LANGUAGE

Rwanda will soon become the first country (1) ____ the world where female politicians (2) ____  male politicians. The small central African country has made huge progress since its (3) ____ genocide in the 1990s. It can now proudly call itself a beacon of sexual equality. The ruling party coalition won 78% of seats in the election. Women took at (4) ____ 44 out of a total of the 80 seats. Women may still win another three undecided seats. The head of the country’s election commission stated: “It's clear women representatives will be more than 50 per cent." Since the genocide, the government (5) ____ encouraged women into politics. Many in Rwanda say the election results show that people are fed (6) ____ with male-dominated politics. They say women will bring freshness and change to the nation.

Women’s groups were (7) ____ to praise the government of President Paul Kagame for promoting such a strong gender equality programme. A female voter told the BBC’s Focus on Africa show that the new political (8) ____ would help strengthen her country. She explained: "Men, especially in our culture, used to think that women are there to (9) ____ in the house, cook food, look after the children... but the real problems of a family are known by a woman and when they do it, they help a country to get much better." A local newspaper editor told the Voice of America website of his new (10) ____ in his country: “We have really been the first…where the women have broken the glass (11) ____ …now it's like we are enlightened. We are no longer in this (12) ____ sort of thinking,” he said.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

with

(b)

at

(c)

on

(d)

in

2.

(a)

numeric

(b)

numeral

(c)

outnumber

(d)

numb

3.

(a)

tragedy

(b)

tragic

(c)

tragically

(d)

tragedies

4.

(a)

least

(b)

lost

(c)

last

(d)

lest

5.

(a)

did

(b)

was

(c)

has

(d)

would

6.

(a)

out

(b)

in

(c)

down

(d)

up

7.

(a)

quicken

(b)

quick

(c)

quickly

(d)

quickness

8.

(a)

landscape

(b)

seascape

(c)

cityscape

(d)

moonscape

9.

(a)

do

(b)

be

(c)

have

(d)

been

10.

(a)

proudly

(b)

proud

(c)

pride

(d)

praise

11.

(a)

ceiling

(b)

floor

(c)

roof

(d)

wall

12.

(a)

backspace

(b)

backfire

(c)

backdated

(d)

backward

WRITING: 

Write about gender equality for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Rwanda’s new female politicians. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. GENDER EQUALITY: Make a poster about gender equality (or inequality) in your country. Include ideas on how to make things more equal. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. WOMEN RULE THE WORLD: Write a magazine article about how women took over the world. Include imaginary interviews with the female world leader and a man who doesn’t like the situation at all.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are a politician. Write about one day in your life. What do you want to change in your country? Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

6. LETTER: Write a letter to a female Rwandan politician. Ask her three questions about her role in her country. Make three suggestions on what she should do for her country, especially for gender equality. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

huge

a.

enormous

2

tragic

b.

terrible

3.

coalition

c.

alliance

4.

encouraged

d.

supported

5.

fed up

e.

tired

6.

praise

f.

pay tribute to

7.

strengthen

g.

toughen

8.

pride

h.

joy

9.

enlightened

i.

brought up to date

10.

backward

j.

undeveloped

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

female politicians outnumber

a.

male politicians

2

made huge

b.

progress

3.

The ruling party coalition won

c.

78% of seats

4.

the government has encouraged

d.

women into politics

5.

people are fed

e.

up

6.

Women’s groups were quick

f.

to praise the government

7.

the new political

g.

landscape

8.

women are there to

h.

be in the house

9.

women have broken

i.

the glass ceiling

10.

We are no longer in this backward

j.

sort of thinking

GAP FILL:

Rwanda - world’s first women-led country

Rwanda will soon become the first country in the world where female politicians outnumber male politicians. The small central African country has made huge progress since its tragic genocide in the 1990s. It can now proudly call itself a beacon of sexual equality. The ruling party coalition won 78% of seats in the election. Women took at least 44 out of a total of the 80 seats. Women may still win another three undecided seats. The head of the country’s election commission stated: “It's clear women representatives will be more than 50 per cent." Since the genocide, the government has encouraged women into politics. Many in Rwanda say the election results show that people are fed up with male-dominated politics. They say women will bring freshness and change to the nation.

Women’s groups were quick to praise the government of President Paul Kagame for promoting such a strong gender equality programme. A female voter told the BBC’s Focus on Africa show that the new political landscape would help strengthen her country. She explained: "Men, especially in our culture, used to think that women are there to be in the house, cook food, look after the children... but the real problems of a family are known by a woman and when they do it, they help a country to get much better." A local newspaper editor told the Voice of America website of his new pride in his country: “We have really been the first…where the women have broken the glass ceiling…now it's like we are enlightened. We are no longer in this backward sort of thinking,” he said.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 -c

11 - a

12 - d

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