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UN boss not doing enough for women

Date: Mar 8, 2006
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:35 - 186.9 KB - 16kbps)

 
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THE ARTICLE

Women from around the world reminded United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday that he is not doing enough for them. A global coalition of women’s groups wrote a letter of complaint to the UN boss. In it, they scolded him for his lack of progress in moving towards equality. They said they were “disappointed” that he had paid little more than “lip service” to forwarding women’s rights. They used a good example that even in the UN, very few women have high-level posts. The letter stated that despite a lot of talk, the issue equality “still hasn’t made it on to the big agenda of UN reform”.

Very little progress has been made in the ten years since the 1995 Beijing conference on women’s rights. There is still only “token representation” of women on important committees in the UN. Many women have highlighted the need for change at the top of the UN itself. They said: “We need new and innovative leadership and the way to get that is by ensuring we reach fifty-fifty women and men in all decision-making positions.” A sign that things are not moving in this direction is that a man replaced Ms. Louise Frechette last week as the UN deputy secretary general.

WARM-UPS

1. STRENGTHS: Write down the names of five women who are or have been important in your life. In pairs / groups, talk about the strengths of these women. What have you learned from them? What would you like to thank them for?

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

United Nations / Kofi Annan / coalitions / women’s groups / letters / progress / women at the top / women’s rights / change / innovation / leadership / men

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

3. WORKING WOMEN: With your partner(s), talk about who can do these jobs best – men or women:

  • Leader of a country
  • Soldier
  • Chef
  • F1 racing car driver
  • Teacher
  • Comedian
  • CEO
  • Religious leader
  • Nurse
  • Clown

4. WORLD WOMEN: In pairs / groups, write a score of 1 (very bad) to 10 (wonderful) based on what you think it is like to be a woman in these countries:

______ USA

______ China

______ India

______ Brazil

______ Saudi Arabia

______ Russia

______ Thailand

______ Japan

5. TWO-MINUTE DEBATES: Have these following fun debates with your partners. Students A agree with the first argument; students B, the second. Change partners and topics every two minutes.

  1. Women are smarter than men. Vs. Men are more intelligent.
  2. Women belong in the home. Vs. Women should work outside the home.
  3. Women have a more comfortable life. Vs. Men have a more comfortable life.
  4. It’s better to be born a man. Vs. It’s better to be born a woman.
  5. Women can do everything men can do. Vs. Men can do much more than women.
  6. Men should campaign for men’s rights. Vs. Men already have too many rights.
  7. The world’s best leaders are men. Vs. Rubbish.
  8. Women will never be happy. Vs. Women are happier than men.

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.

UN boss Kofi Annan is not doing enough to help women.

T / F

b.

A global coalition of women’s groups complained about his inaction.

T / F

c.

Women said Mr. Annan only paid “ear service” to women’s rights.

T / F

d.

The rate of women taking high-level UN posts has increased.

T / F

e.

Much progress has been made on women’s rights in the past decade.

T / F

f.

A campaigner called for more innovative leadership at the UN.

T / F

g.

Mr. Annan said another 50 women were needed for key UN positions.

T / F

h.

The new UN deputy secretary general, named last week, is a woman.

T / F

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

a.

global

advancing

b.

coalition

underlined

c.

forwarding

question

d.

posts

making sure

e.

issue

positions

f.

token

worldwide

g.

highlighted

minor

h.

innovative

heading

i.

ensuring

partnership

j.

moving

original

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

a.

A global coalition of

progress

b.

a letter

in this direction

c.

lack of

has been made

d.

the issue

women’s groups

e.

the big agenda of UN

for change at the top

f.

Very little progress

of equality

g.

“token

reform

h.

women have highlighted the need

leadership

i.

We need new and innovative

of complaint

j.

things are not moving

representation”

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

UN boss not doing enough for women

Women from around the world _________ United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan yesterday that he is not doing _________ for them. A global coalition of women’s groups wrote a letter of _________ to the UN boss. In it, they _________ him for his lack of progress in moving _________ equality. They said they were “disappointed” that he had paid little more than “lip service” to _________ women’s rights. They used a good example that even in the UN, very few women have high-level posts. The letter _________ that despite a lot of talk, the issue of equality “still hasn’t made it on to the big _________ of UN reform”.

 

 

complaint
scolded
reminded
stated
agenda
towards
enough
forwarding

Very little _________ has been made in the ten years since the 1995 Beijing conference on women’s rights. There is still only “_________ representation” of women on _________ committees in the UN. Many women have highlighted the _________ for change at the top of the UN itself. They said: “We need new and innovative leadership and the _________ to get that is by ensuring we reach fifty-fifty women and men in _________ decision-making positions.” A _________ that things are not moving in this direction is that a man _________ Ms. Louise Frechette last week as the UN deputy secretary general.

 

need
token
replaced
way
sign
progress
important
all

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

UN boss not doing enough for women

Women from around the world ___________ United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday that he is not doing enough for them. A global ___________ of women’s groups wrote a letter of complaint to the UN boss. In it, they ___________ him for his lack of progress in moving towards equality. They said they were “disappointed” that he had paid little more than “lip service” to ______________ women’s rights. They used a good example that even in the UN, very few women have high-level posts. The letter stated that ___________ a lot of talk, the issue equality “still hasn’t made it on to the big ___________ of UN reform”.

Very little ___________ has been made in the ten years since the 1995 Beijing conference on women’s rights. There is still only “___________ representation” of women on important committees in the UN. Many women have ___________ the need for change at the top of the UN itself. They said: “We need new and innovative leadership and the way to get that is by ___________ we reach fifty-fifty women and men in all ___________ -making positions.” A sign that things are not moving in this ___________ is that a man ___________ Ms. Louise Frechette last week as the UN deputy secretary general.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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. STUDENT “WOMEN’S RIGHTS” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about women’s rights.

  • 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:

  • reminded
  • coalition
  • progress
  • lip
  • example
  • agenda
  • ten years
  • token
  • committees
  • top
  • fifty-fifty
  • sign

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. Do you think Kofi Annan does enough for women?
  3. Do you think the UN is s good place to work for women?
  4. What do you think the United Nations should do about women’s issues?
  5. What do you know about International Women’s Day?
  6. Do you think there should also be an International Men’s Day?
  7. What do you think should happen on International Women’s Day?
  8. What would you do for women’s rights if you were head of the UN?
  9. Do you think the world is moving towards greater equality between the sexes?
  10. What do you think Kofi Annan will say about the letter from the coalition of women’s groups?

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. How would the world be different if there was perfect equality between men and women?
  4. How would your life be different if there was perfect equality between men and women?
  5. What do you do for women’s rights?
  6. What responsibility does the UN have to be a role model of equality?
  7. Is there sexual equality in your country?
  8. Are you surprised the UN is accused of paying “lip service” to women?
  9. What question would you like to ask Kofi Annan and what do you think his answer would be?
  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

EQUALITY: In pairs / groups, write down the things that need to change in your country for women to be equal. Use the points in the left hand column to help you. In the right hand column, write down the barriers to these changes happening.

 

Changes needed

Barriers to change
 

Image of women

 

 

Education

 

 

Language

 

 

Workplace

 

 

Children’s upbringing

 

 

Family roles

 

 

Other

_____________

 

 

 

Change partners and talk about what you wrote to your previous partner(s).

Discuss the likelihood of the barriers to change disappearing in your country.

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 information about International Women’s Day (March 8th). Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. HERO: Make a poster about a woman you admire. Show your poster to your classmates in the next lesson. Which poster(s) did you like most and why?

4. ROLE REVERSAL: Yesterday you changed roles and became a member of the opposite sex for the day. Write about your experience. What did you do? What differences did you enjoy or dislike? Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone have similar experiences?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. T

c. F

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

global

worldwide

b.

coalition

partnership

c.

forwarding

advancing

d.

posts

positions

e.

issue

question

f.

token

minor

g.

highlighted

underlined

h.

innovative

original

i.

ensuring

making sure

j.

moving

heading

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

A global coalition of

women’s groups

b.

a letter

of complaint

c.

lack of

progress

d.

the issue

of equality

e.

the big agenda of UN

reform

f.

Very little progress

has been made

g.

“token

representation”

h.

women have highlighted the need

for change at the top

i.

We need new and innovative

leadership

j.

things are not moving

in this direction

GAP FILL:

UN boss not doing enough for women

Women from around the world reminded United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan yesterday that he is not doing enough for them. A global coalition of women’s groups wrote a letter of complaint to the UN boss. In it, they scolded him for his lack of progress in moving towards equality. They said they were “disappointed” that he had paid little more than “lip service” to forwarding women’s rights. They used a good example that even in the UN, very few women have high-level posts. The letter stated that despite a lot of talk, the issue of equality “still hasn’t made it on to the big agenda of UN reform”.

Very little progress has been made in the ten years since the 1995 Beijing conference on women’s rights. There is still only “token representation” of women on important committees in the UN. Many women have highlighted the need for change at the top of the UN itself. They said: “We need new and innovative leadership and the way to get that is by ensuring we reach fifty-fifty women and men in all decision-making positions.” A sign that things are not moving in this direction is that a man replaced Ms. Louise Frechette last week as the UN deputy secretary general.

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