My 1,000
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My 1,000
Ideas
e-Book
 
 

Date: Dec 28, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:54 - 224.6 KB - 16kbps)
 
1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

The Japanese government has endorsed a set of measures that aims to increase the number of women in top-level government posts to 30 percent from the current 21.5 percent by 2020. The ambitious plans also cater for working mothers as the government attempts to stem the tide of a shrinking workforce. Further plans aim to help more women into management. Only nine percent of managers in Japan are female, compared with 46 percent in the U.S. The new directives will allow full-time female civil servants to work shorter hours to cope with the demands of raising children. They recommend companies rehire women after their maternity leave ends to entice back to work a portion of the two thirds of mothers who leave the workforce permanently following childbirth. The government will also urge male civil servants to take paternity leave.

The new targets consolidate on the Gender Equality Basic Plan, which was introduced in 2000. They include many measures to address institutionalized inequalities, discrimination and harassment. One of the focal points is the drive to support female entrepreneurs by making available more information regarding business start-ups and introducing a mentor system to aid would-be businesswomen. Prime Minister Koizumi said he wanted “to create a gender-equality society in which men and women can have dreams and expectations by fully exercising their individuality and abilities”. Japan lags behind many industrialized nations in gender equality. It ranks a lowly 43rd among 80 countries in the 2005 United Nations Gender Empowerment Measure index.

WARM-UPS

1. EQUALITY: In pairs / groups, discuss how equal you feel in your society. Do you ever feel unequal because of your gender, race, color, religion, financial wealth…?

2. GENDER SWAP: For the next five minutes you have swapped genders. In pairs / groups, talk about your new life as a man or woman. What things are better? What don’t you like?

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

Japan / measures / government posts / ambitious plans / female managers / raising children / maternity leave / paternity leave / sexual harassment / businesswomen

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

4. SAME ROLES: Talk with your partner(s) about how acceptable you think each of the following is:

  • Men crying watching sad movies
  • Boys playing with Barbie dolls
  • Men plucking their eyebrows
  • Male nurses
  • Househusbands
  • Women asking men out on dates
  • Women using foul language
  • Female fighter plane pilots
  • Female religious leaders
  • Female boxing

5. DISCRIMINATION: Talk about the following in pairs/ groups. Are women discriminated against in these areas in your country?

  1. Salary
  2. Promotion
  3. Having to make the tea
  4. Hiring
  5. Work atmosphere
  6. Sexual harassment
  7. Titles of address (Mrs. / Miss / first name, etc.)
  8. Levels of respect from the opposite sex

6. GENDER: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “gender”. 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.

Japan’s civil service will be 50 percent female by 2020.

T / F

b.

New equality laws are to stem the tide of a shrinking workforce.

T / F

c.

There are five times more female managers in America than in Japan.

T / F

d.

Japan’s government will not consider the idea of paternity leave.

T / F

e.

Japan’s firms hide female workers’ addresses to prevent harassment.

T / F

f.

A mentor system will start to encourage female entrepreneurs.

T / F

g.

Japan’s Prime Minister wants to create a gender-equality society.

T / F

h.

Japan ranks next to last in a UN index comparing gender equality.

T / F

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

a.

endorsed

trails

b.

cater for

decrees

c.

stem the tide

persuade

d.

directives

poor

e.

entice

curtail

f.

strengthen

potential

g.

mentor

approved

h.

would-be

reinforce

i.

lags

coach

j.

lowly

help

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

a.

endorsed a set

demands of raising children

b.

stem the tide

to take paternity leave

c.

cope with the

support female entrepreneurs

d.

entice

institutionalized inequalities

e.

urge male civil servants

43rd among 80 countries

f.

measures to address

of a shrinking workforce

g.

the drive to

individuality and abilities

h.

a mentor system to aid

of measures

i.

fully exercising their

would-be businesswomen

j.

It ranks a lowly

back to work…

WHILE READING / LISTENING

WRONG WORD: Delete the incorrect or least likely word from each pair in italics.

Japanese women to have more equality

The Japanese government has endorsed / enclosed a set of measures that aims to increase the number of women in top-level government posts to 30 percent from the current / currant 21.5 percent by 2020. The ambitious plans also cater / canter for working mothers as the government attempts to stem the pride / tide of a shrinking workforce. Further plans aim to help more women into management. Only nine percent of managers in Japan are female, compared / complementary with 46 percent in the U.S. The new directors / directives will allow full-time female civil servants to work shorter hours to cope with the demands of elevating / raising children. They recommend companies retrench / rehire women after their maternity leave ends to entice back to work a portion / proposition of the two thirds of mothers who leave the workforce permanently following childbirth. The government will also urge male civil servants to take maternity / paternity leave.

The new targets commiserate / consolidate on the Gender Equality Basic Plan, which was introduced in 2000. They include many measures to telephone / address institutionalized inequalities, discrimination and harassment. One of the local / focal points is the drive to support female entrepreneurs / interpreters by making available more information regarding business start-ups and introducing a mental / mentor system to aid would-be businesswomen. Prime Minister Koizumi said he wanted “to recreate / create a gender-equality society in which men and women can have dreams and expectations by fully working out / exercising their individuality and abilities”. Japan logs / lags behind many industrialized nations in gender equality. It ranks a slowly / lowly 43rd among / humungous 80 countries in the 2005 United Nations Gender Empowerment Measure index.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Japanese women to have more equality

The Japanese government has __________ a set of measures that aims to increase the number of women in top-level government posts to 30 percent from the current 21.5 percent by 2020. The ambitious plans also ______ for working mothers as the government attempts to stem the ______ of a __________ workforce. Further plans aim to help more women into management. Only nine percent of managers in Japan are female, compared with 46 percent in the U.S. The new __________ will allow full-time female civil servants to work shorter hours to cope with the demands of raising children. They recommend companies _______ women after their maternity leave ends to _______ back to work a portion of the two thirds of mothers who leave the workforce permanently following childbirth. The government will also _______ male civil servants to take ___________ leave.

The new targets ___________ on the Gender Equality Basic Plan, which was introduced in 2000. They include many ___________ to address institutionalized inequalities, discrimination and ___________. One of the focal points is the drive to support female entrepreneurs by making available more information regarding business start-ups and introducing a _______ system to aid would-be businesswomen. Prime Minister Koizumi said he wanted “to create a gender-equality society in which men and women can have dreams and expectations by _______ exercising their individuality and abilities”. Japan lags behind many industrialized nations in gender equality. It ranks a _______ 43rd among 80 countries in the 2005 United Nations Gender _____________ Measure index.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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. WRONG WORD: 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. STUDENT “GENDER EQUALITY” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about gender equality, discrimination and harassment.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

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

  • set
  • cater
  • compared
  • cope
  • entice
  • urge
  • consolidate
  • address
  • mentor
  • dreams
  • lags
  • lowly

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What is your image (or experience) of gender equality in Japan?
  3. How equal is your society regarding gender?
  4. Do you think a 30 percent target for women in top-level government posts is a good one?
  5. How could the system of maternity and paternity leave in your country be improved?
  6. Do you think men or women make better managers?
  7. How else could Japan stem the tide of its shrinking workforce?
  8. Do you think new mothers should be enticed back to work?
  9. Do you think your country will ever achieve perfect gender equality?
  10. Are there areas in your society where gender inequality hits men?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. What kinds of institutionalized inequalities exist in your country?
  4. What kind of harassment do women complain about in your country?
  5. Would you say your country was a male-dominated one?
  6. What do you think of the idea of a mentoring system for would-be female entrepreneurs?
  7. Are you surprised that Japan ranks a lowly 43rd in the world in the United Nations index of gender equality?
  8. Have you ever felt hard done by because of discrimination?
  9. Which countries do you think are at the top of the UN index and why?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

HARASSMENT: In pairs / groups, agree on a score for the examples of sexual harassment that might occur in the workplace.

5 = That’s criminal. The guy should go to prison.
4 = The guy should receive a warning and lose his job if he doesn’t change.
3 = That’s a difficult one. Case by case.
2 = I think the women need to be a little less touchy.
1 = That’s totally OK.

Talk about the punishments a male and female boss might give in each of the examples

 

HARASSMENT

SCORE

MALE PUNISHMENTS

FEMALE PUNISHMENTS
 

1.

Being the object of dirty jokes or sexual banter

 

 

 

2.

Being touched up

 

 

 

3.

Being asked questions about boyfriend or private life

 

 

 

4.

Being invited for a meal or a date

 

 

 

5.

Being told that’s “typical of a woman” and other sexist language

 

 

 

6.

Being leered at

 

 

 

7.

Being the object of malicious rumors about one’s personal life

 

 

 

8.

Posters, screensavers, etc. of naked women posted in work areas

 

 

 

Change partners and tell you new partner(s) the scores you decided with your old partner(s). Compare the kinds of punishments male and female bosses might give.

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 more information on Japan’s new gender equality measures. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. GENDER EQUALITY: Make a poster outlining the measures that need to be taken in your country to achieve perfect gender equality. Show your posters to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar ideas?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Tell him what you think of his government’s new plans. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone write similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

endorsed

approved

b.

cater for

help

c.

stem the tide

curtail

d.

directives

decrees

e.

entice

persuade

f.

strengthen

reinforce

g.

mentor

coach

h.

would-be

potential

i.

lags

trails

j.

lowly

poor

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

endorsed a set

of measures

b.

stem the tide

of a shrinking workforce

c.

cope with the

demands of raising children

d.

entice

back to work…

e.

urge male civil servants

to take paternity leave

f.

measures to address

institutionalized inequalities

g.

the drive to

support female entrepreneurs

h.

a mentor system to aid

would-be businesswomen

i.

fully exercising their

individuality and abilities

j.

It ranks a lowly

43rd among 80 countries

WRONG WORD:

Japanese women to have more equality

The Japanese government has endorsed / enclosed a set of measures that aims to increase the number of women in top-level government posts to 30 percent from the current / currant 21.5 percent by 2020. The ambitious plans also cater / canter for working mothers as the government attempts to stem the pride / tide of a shrinking workforce. Further plans aim to help more women into management. Only nine percent of managers in Japan are female, compared / complementary with 46 percent in the U.S. The new directors / directives will allow full-time female civil servants to work shorter hours to cope with the demands of elevating / raising children. They recommend companies retrench / rehire women after their maternity leave ends to entice back to work a portion / proposition of the two thirds of mothers who leave the workforce permanently following childbirth. The government will also urge male civil servants to take maternity / paternity leave.

The new targets commiserate / consolidate on the Gender Equality Basic Plan, which was introduced in 2000. They include many measures to telephone / address institutionalized inequalities, discrimination and harassment. One of the local / focal points is the drive to support female entrepreneurs / interpreters by making available more information regarding business start-ups and introducing a mental / mentor system to aid would-be businesswomen. Prime Minister Koizumi said he wanted “to recreate / create a gender-equality society in which men and women can have dreams and expectations by fully working out / exercising their individuality and abilities”. Japan logs / lags behind many industrialized nations in gender equality. It ranks a slowly / lowly 43rd among / humungous 80 countries in the 2005 United Nations Gender Empowerment Measure index.

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