This module is a resource for lecturers
This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.
The exercises in this section are most appropriate for classes of up to 25 students (ideally 10-15 students), where students can be easily organized into small groups in which they discuss cases or conduct activities before group representatives provide feedback to the entire class. Although it is possible to have the same small group structure in large classes comprising a few hundred students, it is more challenging and the lecturer might wish to adapt the facilitation techniques to ensure sufficient time for group discussions as well as providing feedback to the entire class. The easiest way to deal with the requirement for small group discussion in a large class is to ask students to discuss the issues with the four or five students sitting close to them. Given time limitations, not all groups will be able to provide feedback in each exercise. It is recommended that the lecturer make random selections and try to ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once during the session. If time permits, the lecturer could facilitate a discussion in plenary after each group has provided feedback.
All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, as students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues vary widely, decisions about appropriateness of exercises should be based on their educational and social context. The lecturer is encouraged to relate and connect each exercise to the key issues of the Module.
Exercise 1: Privilege is invisible to those who have it
Show the students one of the following two video clips:
- In " Understanding My Privilege," a 2016 TED Talk, University Chancellor Susan E. Borrego reflects on her life as an emancipated minor and dissects the emotionally charged conversation surrounding race relations in the United States. This raconteur uses her powerful first-person account of "White Privilege" and "Black Lives Matter" to underscore the responsibility each one of us must bring about change.
- " Why Gender Equality is Good for Everybody-Men Included," a 2015 TED Talk by Dr Michael Kimmel, highlights that "privilege is invisible to those who have it" because those people holding the entitlement consider themselves as neutral.
Discuss with the class:
- How does this TED talk make you feel?
- Can you reflect on the ways that sexism and/or racism is impacting your life as an individual?
- How can you relate Borrego's and/or Kimmel's ideas to the EoC?
Depending on the size of the class and technology available, the class can be divided in two for each group to watch one of the clips.
To save time, the lecturer can ask the students to watch the video before arriving to class.
The exercise can also be supplemented by an activity based on Peggy McIntosh's note White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. The activity described in the note focuses on race-based privilege but it could be adapted to other types of privileges, including those based on gender. Lecturers can also simply ask students to unpack what is in their own "privilege knapsack", and show students McIntosh's 2012 TEDx Talk, " How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion".
Exercise 2: Role play: the power walk
To further help students understand the idea of privilege, and make them aware of their own privilege, lecturers can ask the students to do the "privilege walk" shown in this short 4-minute video clip. To avoid causing discomfort and embarrassment to the students, it is recommended to use the role-play method and assign fake identities to the students (e.g. male lawyer, woman police officer). Sample statements for the exercise are widely available on the Internet (see, e.g., here and here and here). The UN Women Training Centre, in its Compendium of Good Practices in Training for Gender Equality (at p. 64), calls this exercise the "Patriarchy and the Power Walk", and provides the following guidance:
- Each trainee "steps into the shoes" of another person, e.g. a single mother, a blind man, etc.
- Statements are read aloud. If these apply to them, they step forward. If not, they do not move.
- In the end, participants visually see how much power, access to resources, and opportunities some individuals in society have compared to others.
- Based on this, they discuss how power and privilege is relative to a person's gender, socio-economic position, ethnicity, and other cross-cutting issues. This is followed by a discussion of the "Patriarchal Paradox", i.e. how men are also disadvantaged by the system of patriarchy.
Statements suggested by UN Women for this exercise include:
- I have access to and can read newspapers regularly
- I eat at least two nutritious meals a day
- I would get legal representation if I am arrested
- I would be confident if I had to speak directly to a magistrate
- I am not in danger of being sexually harassed or abused
- I have a regular income or means of supporting myself
- I can speak in meetings of my extended family
- I would not be treated violently or roughly if I am arrested
- I can afford and access appropriate healthcare
- I can question spending of community funds
- I can name some of the laws in the country
- Someone would immediately be told if I was arrested
- I have left over money at the end of the week that I can spend on myself
- I can travel anywhere I like without assistance or permission
- I do not feel threatened in the workplace by any issues of my identity
- I do not feel socially uncomfortable in most situations to voice my opinions
- I can do what I like in my home without fear
Identities suggested by UN Women include: male lawyer with private firm, 10-year-old street boy, grandmother taking care of orphans, unemployed single mother, male storekeeper, woman police officer, blind elderly man, male school teacher, female member of parliament, migrant ethnic minority, male literate factory worker, etc. These suggested identities and statements were used by UN Women in its Gender Mainstreaming Course, Bangkok, October 2017.
If it is difficult to conduct this activity due to time and space limitations, lecturers can show the students the clip. The Singapore version of the clip is available here. Note that this exercise will lead to a discussion that goes beyond gender.
Exercise 3: Self versus other
Watch the TED Talk " Wiring a Web for Global Good", in which former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown discusses how technology can help us tackle the big issues of poverty and climate change, security and terrorism, and human rights and development.
Ask the students to discuss what an EoC approach tells us about how to balance the needs of vulnerable others with the need to provide for ourselves and our dependents.
When conducting this exercise, the lecturer can draw on the quote from David Suzuki cited in the Key Issues section of this Module and the discussion that follows.
Similar themes are explored by Tiffany Jana in her 2014 TED Talk " The Power of Privilege". Jana discusses transatlantic organizational development, marketing, and community outreach initiatives focused on race and democracy.
Exercise 4: The "Gender-Career Implicit Associations Test"
In this exercise, students will take the Harvard Implicit Associations Test ( IAT ), which provides the opportunity to explore implicit bias on a range of topics.
Ask the students to take the "Gender-Career Implicit Associate Test". Students would ideally take the test individually.
Once the students have completed their test (approx. ten mins), review the overall statistics displayed at the end of the test compiled based on all participants from around the world. This IAT often reveals a relative link between "family" and "females" and between "career" and "males".
Ask the students to share their results with the class and compare those results with the overall findings. They can then discuss the following questions:
- Were you surprised by your results? Why, or why not?
- What did you learn from your results?
- Did you feel challenged by having your implicit bias questioned?
- How does this relate to the EoC?
Background information about the Harvard IAT can be found here. The IAT is part of the larger Project Implicit described here. The test will ask the student (optionally) to report their attitudes toward or beliefs about the topic of the test, and to provide some general information about themselves. The site states that: "Data exchanged with this site is protected by SSL encryption, and no personally identifying information is collected. IP addresses are routinely recorded, but are completely confidential . "If students indicate that they are unprepared to encounter interpretations that they might find objectionable, they should not proceed to take the test. Lecturers might wish to discuss the implications privately where students indicate they do not wish to have their views challenged in a university environment.
As an alternative, lecturers may ask the students to solve the following riddle: A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to the hospital. At the hospital the surgeon looks at the boy and says "I can't operate on this boy, he is my son." How can this be? The riddle is discussed here and here.
Exercise 5: Gender equity in recruitment advertisements ("Gender Decoder")
Ask the students to find a job advertisement for a role they would be interested in applying for. Ask them to use the "Gender Decoder for Job Ads" tool (available here) to review the wording of their chosen job advertisement. Ask them to answer the following questions:
- Consider how this tool and the Ethics of Care would direct you to rewrite the advertisement to ensure it is more gender neutral. What words did you change?
- Are there any words in the Decoder (used in the original research) that you would question or you feel are missing? Explain why that is.
- Reflect on what you learnt about your own biased use of language.
Facilitate a class discussion drawing on their responses. If time is short, lecturers can ask the students to submit their written responses, attaching their marked-up job advertisement.
One key initiative being used by organizations is to review and amend their recruitment practices to ensure that they are more open and flexible and that the language used in their job advertisements reflect those policies. A tool developed for this purpose is the " Gender Decoder for Job Ads". Job advertisements and position descriptions can be pasted into the Gender Decoder and it will provide advice on the language used, i.e. whether the wording is masculine, feminine or gender neutral.
As an alternative, lecturers could conduct an exercise in which students transform sexist or discriminatory phrases into inclusive and gender ethics-based language. This resource of the Hamilton School can be useful for this purpose. The resource will also help demonstrate that sexist language is pervasive, demonstrating the extent to which it has been normalized and is used in everyday contexts, to the point that we often overlook the insidious effects of this type of discrimination.
Exercise 6: Sexual harassment online (#MoreThanMean)
The impact of harassment towards female journalists was emphasized by Harlem Désir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (2018):
The harassment of women journalists online has an impact on the public at large. It affects the kinds of voices we hear, the stories we read, and ultimately the freedom and quality of the societies we live in. There is no such thing as freedom of expression if it is the privilege of some, with the exclusion of others. Freedom can only be inclusive. For all.
Show the students this short video clip about online harassment of women. Ask the students to organize into small groups, and discuss how workplace sexism and sexism more generally play out in online forums. They could focus on the following questions:
- What mechanisms can/should social media owners, legislators, law enforcement agencies and/or users put in place to prevent and/or regulate the online abuse of women?
- How would you respond to the scenarios in the clip from an EoC perspective?
If time allows, after the small group discussion, the lecturer could ask the students to discuss their suggestions with the entire class, and brainstorm what more can be done to support women as they face sexual harassment in public, whether in the form of "catcalling," sexual assault or another form.
Exercise 7: Role play: sexual harassment in the workplace
Lecturers who feel confident in facilitating role-play exercises could ask the students to write their own scripts about organizational cultures that are familiar to them, and to play the roles specified in the script.
In preparation, students should watch:
- Feminist scholarCatherine MacKinnon demonstrate here how CEOs should talk about sexual harassment.
- Lieutenant-General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army's speech utilizing the quote: "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept". The Morrison speech transcript is explained here by Cam Barber.
An alternative to role-playing is to set an assignment asking students to come up with a lesson plan to teach the class about what sexual harassment is and how their chosen "organization" will respond to an allegation that has been made public.
Exercise 8: Class wrap up - "Minute Paper"
A few minutes before the end of class, ask the students to write down their responses to two simple questions:
- What was the most important thing you learned today?
- What question remains in your mind?
To conclude the session, ask students to briefly present their answers.
If time limitations do not allow for such a discussion, lecturers can ask the students to hand in their responses on their way out of class, anonymously or with their name on the top of the page.
Back to top