#268: English Conversations on Women, Equity, and Equality

Mar 8, 2023 | Advanced Vocabulary, English Conversation, Special Confident English Lesson

Note: March 8 is International Women’s Day and the theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity.

Today I’m inviting you to join me for a unique lesson on the topic of women, equity, and equality.

There are 2 reasons why I’m sharing a lesson on this topic:

  1. First, it’s a common topic of interest and discussion among my students as well as members of my Confident Women Community and it’s a hot topic of conversation around the world.
  2. Second, this lesson will be released on International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. Sharing this lesson is our way of celebrating.

What makes this Confident English lesson particularly unique is not only will I share must-have English vocabulary on this topic but you’ll also hear from students of mine from around the world. 

In this lesson you’ll find 3 sections:

First, I’ll provide a bit more context or background on International Women’s Day and the vocabulary I’ll be highlighting.

Second, I’ll share 8 must-have vocabulary words and phrases for discussions on the topic of women’s equity and equality. 

And finally, I’ll share snippets of interviews I did with 7 of my students from around the world. I asked each woman 4 questions to get their perspective on International Women’s Day and this year’s theme. 

Not only will you get to hear a variety of opinions on this topic, but I’ll also highlight the fantastic vocabulary used in these interviews.

WATCH THE LESSON

English Conversations on Women, Equity, and Equality

What is International Women’s Day?

IWD is a day that celebrates and honors the social, economic, cultural, and political impact and achievements of women around the world.

Starting in the early 1900s, women became more vocal about the inequality and discrimination they faced on a daily basis. By 1911, Women’s Day became a globally recognized day and women have since continued to be vocal about their rights.   

Celebrated on March 8, it’s also a day that raises awareness of gender discrimination and calls for action for women’s equality.

 

What should you know about IWD 2023? 

Every year, IWD focuses on a specific theme to encourage conversations on women’s rights. 

This year, they challenge us to imagine an ideal world “free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.” 

For 2023 and beyond, they ask us to #EmbraceEquity.

8 Vocabulary Words for Discussions on Women’s Equity and Equality

Equity (n.)

  • Def: A state in which everyone is treated fairly and equally; freedom from bias and discrimination
  • Ex. In recent years, workplaces have seen a rise in conversations on pay equity. 

Equality (n.)

  • Def: The state of being equal in status, rights, freedoms, opportunities, etc. 
  • Ex. Equality should always be an open and inclusive conversation. 

Difference between Equity and Equality?

  • Equality focuses on treating everyone the same, regardless of their differences. Each person is given the same rights and freedoms as the others. 
  • Equity acknowledges the differences between people and focuses on the provision of resources or opportunities to minimize those differences and achieve equality.

Embrace (v.)

  • Def: to accept new ideas, beliefs, methods, etc.; to put your arms around someone and hold them
  • Ex. When we embrace each other, we promote unity among communities and societies.

Empower (v.)

  • Def: to give someone the confidence, skills, strength, and freedom to do something. 
  • Ex. Lifelong learning empowers women to take control of their lives.

Inclusivity (n.)

  • Def: the equal, fair treatment and involvement of all people, things, and ideas. 
  • Ex. The company embraced a new marketing campaign that prioritized inclusivity. 

Forge (v.)

  • Def: to form or bring something into being through effort
  • Ex. Past generations forged a path for the rights we have today. 

Value (v.)

  • Def: to attach monetary worth to something; to consider and rate the usefulness, importance, or general worth of something.
  • Ex. I value my independence and freedom. 

Take a step forward (phrasal v.)

  • Def: to make progress or make an effort to bring improvement
  • Alternative Example: Being vocal about our rights helped us take a step forward and bring change. 

Must-Know English Vocabulary Used by Our Students:

 

MARIANNE

Evoke (v.)

  • Def: to call forth or up; to bring to mind
  • Context: Celebrating IWD evokes two different emotions within me.
  • Alternative Example. The song evokes several memories. 

 

To serve as [sth/sb] (idiom)

  • Def: to act in the capacity of a particular role
  • Context: But, on the other hand, it serves as a reminder in order to support people or women all over the world.
  • Alternative Example. The room served as her personal office.

 

To back [sth/sb] (v.)

  • Def: to support by material or moral assistance
  • Context: I think it’s important to back organizations that fight for equality – for equal rights.
  • Alternative Example. We should back our thoughts with actions.
MARY

Stereotype (n.)

  • Def: an oversimplified, exaggerated, and fixed idea about a person
  • Context: Women in Greece live in a way that stereotypes, beliefs, and discrimination against their gender were totally acceptable.
  • Alternative Example: Women in Hollywood often face stereotypes related to age.

  

Stand up for [sth/sb] (phrasal v.)

  • Def: to support an idea or person
  • Context: IWD for me is an opportunity to challenge the past and stand up for those incredible women who have the courage, the grit, and the tenacity to stand up to a situation and assert a better life.
  • Alternative Example: Kiara stood up for her coworker to stop the unfair treatment. 

 

Tenacity (n.)

  • Def: The quality or state of being persistent and determined, with a purpose
  • Context: IWD for me is an opportunity to challenge the past and stand up for those incredible women who have the courage, the grit, and the tenacity to stand up to a situation and assert a better life.
  • Alternative Example: Lisa’s tenacity in bringing positive change is inspiring. 

 

Grit (n.)

  • Def: the quality of being resilient, courageous, and determined
  • Context: IWD for me is an opportunity to challenge the past and stand up for those incredible women who have the courage, the grit, and the tenacity to stand up to a situation and assert a better life.
  • Alternative Example: Mina has a lot of grit and she never gives up on her goals.
VANIA

To take for granted (phrase)

  • Def: to fail to properly appreciate
  • Context: And, it’s important for me not to take them for granted.
  • Alternative Example: I could never take my mother’s role in my life for granted. 

 

Dignity (n.)

  • Def: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, and valued
  • Context: What always strikes me the most, honestly, is the unmatchable grit and resilience of common women who live in countries or circumstances where their rights and their dignity are constantly trampled…
  • Alternative Example: Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. 

 

To open the door to [sth/sb] (idiom)

  • Def: to make something easier or likely to happen
  • Context: And, of course, opens the door to progress.
  • Alternative Example: Changes in work policies opened the door to more opportunities for employee growth and satisfaction.

 

To break the glass ceiling (idiom)

  • Def: to break through a barrier that prevents some people from rising to higher positions
  • Context: Especially, in all those high positions, in order to break the traditional glass ceiling. 
  • Alternative Example: Even today, women are breaking through the glass ceilings in their fields.
REJANE

Reshape (v.)

  • Def: to change a shape, character, or organization again
  • Context: And, above everything that has happened, women who have reshaped our society, who have made a huge impact on the way we live. 
  • Alternative Example: Younger generations continue to reshape organizations as they age.

Diversity (n.)

  • Def: being composed of various elements; the inclusion of people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, etc.
  • Context: I’ve seen the diversity and how challenging it is for women to pursue a career in a STEM environment
  • Alternative Example: Some employers are committing to diversity in the workplace.

Awareness (n.)

  • Def: the quality or state of understanding that something happens or exists 
  • Context: As a society, we can increase awareness.
  • Alternative Example: Greta Thunberg continues to raise awareness of climate change and the state of our planet.

 

To make a difference (idiom)

  • Def: to improve a situation or help make the world a better place
  • Context: I want to help them see that it’s possible – that they can make [a] difference…
  • Alternative Example: Every weekend, Sally volunteers to mentor young children and make a difference in their lives.
ADRIANNA

Acknowledge (v.)

  • Def: to accept, admit, or recognize the truth and existence of something or someone
  • Context: We can see the progress that has been made, but, additionally, acknowledge that there is a lot of work still to be done.
  • Alternative Example: I acknowledge my errors and will work towards bettering my skills.

Resonate (v.)

  • Def: to have a powerful effect and to relate harmoniously
  • Context: I remember a particular thing that resonates with me very deeply. 
  • Alternative Example: Gloria Steinem’s words resonate strongly with my values. 

 

To work toward [sth] (phrasal v.)

  • Def: to try to reach or achieve a goal
  • Context: I think it’s not enough just to think about equity but work actively toward creating a more equal and fair society for women.
  • Alternative Example: We are all working toward the same goal.
SUNNY

Call to action (n.)

  • Def: a speech, piece of writing, or act that asks or encourages others to take action about a problem
  • Context: To me, IWD is a celebration, a reminder; it’s also a call to action.
  • Alternative Example: The documentary is a call to action on climate change.

 

Adversity (n.)

  • Def: a difficult or unlucky situation or event
  • Context: Where a group of women around the country come together and share their experience and stories of overcoming adversity…
  • Alternative Example: In the book, the characters survive adversity through creativity and determination. 

 

Perpetuate (v.)

  • Def: to cause something to continue; to prolong
  • Context: First, I think we can work together to change our attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate inequity and discrimination.
  • Alternative Example: If they ignore the differences in pay, it perpetuates more inequality between men and women in the workplace.
JINSA

Collective (adj.)

  • Def: involving, felt by, and/or owned by all members of a group
  • Context: As a society, we have to make collective efforts in a sustainable manner.
  • Alternative Example: It is our collective responsibility to teach younger generations about equity and equality.

 

Representation (n.)

  • Def: the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way
  • Context: For example, we know that women’s representation in top jobs and in top leadership positions is very less. 
  • Alternative Example: The movie is an accurate representation of her life.

 

To pave the way for (idiom)

  • Def: to make it possible or easier for something to happen or someone to do something
  • Context: And, it also paved the way for their decision-making skills as well.
  • Alternative Example: Women’s rights activists paved the way for all future generations.
Time to Practice

After watching this lesson, here’s a step-by-step approach to practicing what you’ve learned.

  1. Create a mind map for the word ‘equity.’
  2. Write a definition for ‘equity’ in your own words. 
  3. In what ways will you be embracing equity in 2023? 

You can share your answers — as well as your questions — with me in the comments below.

~ Annemarie

 

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