Private sphere and public sphere
Private sphere and public sphere
Has gender equality finally been achieved?
compréhension de l'écrit et expression écrite
Intérêt du sujet • Les femmes ont longtemps été cantonnées à la sphère privée avant de se battre pour leurs droits. Sont-elles enfin les égales des hommes ? N'est-il vraiment plus nécessaire de poursuivre le combat ?
I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious1 to me is just as obvious to everyone else. Take my dear friend Louis, who is a brilliant, progressive man. We would have conversations and he would tell me: “I don't see what you mean by things being different and harder for women. Maybe it was so in the past but not now. Everything is fine now for women.” I didn't understand how Louis could not see what seemed so evident.
I love being back home in Nigeria, and spend much of my time there in Lagos, the largest city and commercial hub of the country. Sometimes, in the evenings when the heat goes down and the city has a slower pace2, I go out with friends and family to restaurants or cafés. On one of those evenings, Louis and I were out with friends. There is a wonderful mixture in Lagos: a sprinkling of energetic young men who hang around outside certain establishments and very dramatically “help” you park your car. Lagos is a metropolis of almost twenty million people, with more energy than London, more entrepreneurial spirit than New York, and so people come up with all sorts of ways to make a living. As in most big cities, finding parking in the evenings can be difficult, so these young men make a business out of finding spots, and – even when there are spots available – of guiding you into yours with much gesticulating, and promising to “look after” your car until you get back. I was impressed with the particular theatrics of the man who found us a parking spot that evening. And so as we were leaving, I decided to give him a tip3. I opened my bag, put my hand inside my bag to get my money, and I gave it to the man. And he, this man who was happy and grateful4, took the money from me, and then looked across at Louis and said, “Thank you, sah!”
Louis looked at me, surprised and asked: “Why is he thanking me? I didn't give him the money.” Then I saw realization dawn on Louis's face. The man believed that whatever money I had ultimately came from Louis. Because Louis is a man.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We should all be feminists, 2014
1. obvious: évident; 2. pace: rythme; 3. a tip: un pourboire; 4. grateful: reconnaissant.
Compréhension de l'écrit 10 points
Answer the following questions in English, using your own words.
▶ 1. Who is the narrator?
▶ 2. Focus on paragraph 1 and pick out information about Louis:
how he is related to the narrator;
the kind of person he is;
what he thinks about gender equality at the beginning of the text.
▶ 3. Focus on the situation in paragraph 2:
where is the action set?
Who is the new character involved?
How does he react when the narrator gives him a tip?
▶ 4. How does Louis react to the man thanking him? To what extent does it illustrate the narrator's point?
Expression écrite 10 points
Vous traiterez en anglais l'un des deux sujets suivants au choix. Répondez en 120 mots au moins.
Two students receive an award from the mayor for an article they wrote about women's rights. Write the mayor's speech.
Do you agree with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that we should all be feminists? Why (not)?
Les clés du sujet
Compréhension de l'écrit
Comprendre le document
Préparer sa réponse à la question 4
Notez bien les deux temps de la réaction de Louis : d'abord étonné, il comprend ensuite le sens de ce qui vient de se passer.
Pour répondre à la deuxième partie de la question, interprétez ce que Louis vient de comprendre (relisez les dernières lignes du texte) en le reliant à l'introduction du texte : contrairement à ce qu'affirme Louis, Chimamanda y explique qu'il lui paraît évident que beaucoup reste à faire pour l'égalité des sexes.
Key ideas. The speech you have to write is delivered by the mayor of the city. He addresses the students and their school community for an event and a cause they are all proud of: the tone must be formal, benevolent (bienveillant) and laudatory (élogieux) at the same time.
A few tools. Organise your speech: you can first present the students and their article, then focus on what they fight for (for example, girls'education). Find at least one argument to illustrate why this cause is worth supporting. To conclude, you can encourage other people to get involved and congratulate the students.
Key ideas. You have to write an argumentative essay about feminism. You must answer the question, give your opinion and justify it with convincing (convaincant) arguments.
A few tools. Start with your personal definition of “feminism”. Then organise your arguments in paragraphs, using link words: one paragraph about the reasons why feminism is still a worthy cause (pay gap, sexual harassment…) and one explaining why everybody (including men) should be feminists.
Compréhension de l'écrit
▶ 1. The narrator is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian feminist author of the essay.
des points en +
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a écrit We should all be feminists après une conférence en 2012. Vous pouvez visionner la conférence dans son intégralité : cutt.ly/AueJrE4.
▶ 2. Louis is a friend of the narrator's. He is a smart and open-minded man. He thinks gender equality is now achieved (“Everything is fine now for women” l. 6).
▶ 3. The action is set in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria.
The new character is a young man who earns some money helping people find a parking spot and looking after their car. He has just helped the narrator and her friend find a parking spot.
When Chimamanda gives him a tip, he doesn't thank her for the money she has just given him: he thanks Louis, the narrator's male friend instead.
▶ 4. At first, Louis is surprised: he doesn't understand why the man thanked him. Then, he eventually realises that the young man thinks it is his money since he is the man. This makes Louis understand that Chimamanda was right: gender prejudices and stereotypes are still very present and gender equality is far from being achieved yet.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honour to be here today to reward two of your fellow students, Clara and Aïcha, whose article about women and education in Africa was awarded several prices for its quality and its truthfulness.
In this article, Clara and Aïcha show that, today, education is still not available to everyone. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, more than 30 million girls of primary and lower secondary school age are out of school. Clara and Aïcha believe that if African girls can get an education, they will marry later, invest in their children's education, resist gender-based discrimination… and eventually change their community.
gender-based : sexiste
on behalf of : au nom de
heartfelt : sincère (du fond du cœur)
Like them, I think girls'education can change the world! That is why I'm proud to give them, on behalf of the city council, this £3,000 prize to help the girls'education programme they support. And I'd like to encourage young people like you to fight for girls'education and women's rights all over the world.
Clara and Aïcha, you are changing the world. Your implication deserves our heartfelt admiration.
Although the word “feminism” has somehow become unpopular, I like its true definition: the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. That is why I do believe we should all be feminists.
somehow : d'une certaine manière
the gender gap : l'écart hommes-femmes
narrow : étroit
Indeed, it is easy to find evidence that gender equality hasn't been achieved yet. Women are still the main victims of sexual harassment, abuse and violence. The gender gap is also visible in terms of power and pay: everywhere, women are paid less than men, even for the same job, and few of them occupy leading positions in big companies or in the political sphere.
Besides, gender stereotypes are not a women's problem only; they affect men too. Indeed men are expected to be masculine and strong and not show any sign of emotion or weakness. And since both women and men feel pressured to fit into narrow gender roles, they should all act as feminists. I hope that, eventually, when we are all feminists, we will all live in a fairer society.