Gender and Identity

Gender and identity lesson provides you with the opportunity to consider how language affects our perceptions of gender. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to consider to what extent language impacts our gender and how we strive to have equality for all.

  • Time

    30-40 minutes

  • Main Skill


  • Theme and topic

    Identities - Gender and Identity

  • Download Available

    Reading Comprehension Exercise

Click on the tabs to begin.


Sexism is rife in language. A woman may be described as “bossy”, while a man is more likely to be “assertive”. The Economist's language expert Lane Greene explores the gender stereotypes used in everyday speech.

Read the text about the change to the meaning of 'they' in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Adapted from Merriam-Webster dictionary word of the year 2019 is 'they' by Sabrina Barr.

Here are the keywords and phrases to learn:

  • charismatic
  • compliments
  • double standards
  • gender-neutral
  • gender-specific
  • gender stereotype
  • gossiping
  • unwanted offense

Answers for the Reading Exercise
1. shifting 2. gender 3. personal 4. primary 5. study 6. singular 7. pronouns 8. language

  1. Make a leaflet that makes students aware of the gender bias associated with a language. You should including promoting a scheduled debate addressing this matter at your school next week.
  2. Write a speech about if you believe women should play an equal role as men in a country’s police or military force. Mention your views regarding if women are suitable for these kinds of roles in our society.
  3. In most societies, the role of the mother and father differs. What are the causes of these differences? What will be the parental roles in the future? Write an essay expressing your views.
  4. Men are often placed in the most high-level positions in the workplace. Some people say that governments should encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women. Do you agree or disagree? Write a blog post expressing your opinions.

IB English B Language Skills

  • Listening & Speaking

    Skills to communicate both professionally and socially.

  • Reading

    Skills to stimulates imagination memory and recall information

  • Writing

    Skills to foster the ability to explain and refine ideas.

IB English B Themes

  • Experiences

    Opportunities to consider how events which take place impact an individual's life.

  • Human Ingenuity

    Opportunities to explore the sciences, technology and creativity.

  • Identities

    Opportunities to discover interests, values, belief and culture.

  • Sharing The Planet

    Opportunities to look at the challenges faced by individuals and communities in the modern world.

  • Social Organization

    Opportunities to explore the way in which groups of people organise themselves through common systems or interests.

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