8 March. Inspiring commercials about women for your English class

8 March. Inspiring commercials about women for your English class

This year to conduct a special English lesson for International Women’s Day, we suggest you choose from the commercials made about women and for women. There are eight videos to watch and three sections of questions for each video: before watching, while watching and after watching. 

Make sure you present the questions to the students before you move on to each section. Try to elicit some of the ideas from your students before they start watching a commercial and encourage them to share their views with the rest of the group. 

This type of task is designed to train students’ listening comprehension with the help of visuals and discuss some of the essential challenges females face in their everyday life. During the discussion, students learn how to form and express their opinion on social and cultural subjects.

The videos are suitable for teens of 14+ and adults with Intermediate+ level.

1. Always #LikeAGirl​ 

Before watching 

  1. When you hear the phrase “to do something like a girl”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
  2. To your mind, do most people think the same way you do? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think this phrase has a negative connotation?
  4. Are men’s and women’s perspectives on the phrase “do something like a girl” similar or different? In what ways?

While watching

  1. What are the people in the video asked to do?
  2. What are the two main parts of the video, and what’s the difference between them?
  3. What do the people realize at the end of the video?

Keys: 

  1. They are asked to perform different activities “like a girl”. For instance, “jump like a girl”, “fight like a girl”, “run like a girl” and “throw like a girl”. 
  2. In the first part they asked two boys and some girls from 18-22 to do all these actions like a girl, whereas in the second part they asked young girls the same question. The young girls acted a lot more naturally and without any stereotypical thinking. One girl even said that “to run like a girl means to run as fast as you can”.
  3. People realize that girls are able to run, throw and fight just like any man is able to do it. And all of those differences we think of are only far-fetched ideas. 

After watching 

  1. Have you changed your ideas about typical behavior of girls after watching the video?
  2. Is this commercial helpful in changing people’s views about gender stereotypes?

2. Mia – #BestAtWork​

Before watching 

  1. Does your mother/grandmother/aunt work? What is her occupation?
  2. Is your mother/grandmother/aunt good at her work? What skills does her job require?
  3. Is she satisfied with her work? Why do you think so?

While watching

What are the last things on her mind? Choose the right options from the list below:

  • Going on a maternity leave
  • Juggling between work and home 
  • Shouting at her colleagues
  • Acting like an intern
  • Not having a screaming match 
  • Going to a bar
  • Dressing according to her profession
  • Telling dirty jokes

Key: 

Going on a maternity leave, 

Acting like an intern, 

Not having a screaming match

Dressing according to her profession

After watching 

Discuss the questions 

  1. What is the main heroine like? What are her personality traits?
  2. What features make this video stand out among others?
  3. How are the men and other women portrayed in the video?
  4. What does this video tell us about working women? Do you agree or disagree with these ideas?
  5. Do you think it’s easy for modern women to keep a work-life balance?
  6. How has the recent situation with pandemics influenced working women? 

3. ElaN – the unbias button ElaN

Before watching 

  1. Explain the meaning of the word “bias”.
  2. Do you think the words we use influence the society we live in? In what way?
  3. What gender-biased words do you know? 

While watching

  1. What gender-biased words do you see in the video? 
  2. What are the unbiased versions presented in the video?

Keys: 

  1. Cameraman, fireman, mailman, midwife, businessman, mankind. 
  2. Cameraoperator, firefighter, mail carrier, birth assistant, business person, humankind.

After watching 

  1. What kind of app does this video promote?
  2. Have you heard of this or similar to this app(s) before?
  3. Do you consider it to be useful or useless? Explain your opinion.
  4. What other gender-biased words do you know? How can they be changed to become unbiased?

4. Serena Williams: Until We All Win (Nike Commercial) 

Before watching 

  1. Do you know any famous sportswomen? Who are they?
  2. Have you heard of Serena Williams before? What do you know about her?
  3. What do you think of her when you see her?
  4. Do you do any sport? Do you have any role models in sport?

While watching 

  1. What are some of the words Serena Williams uses to describe herself? Do you agree with this description?
  2. What is the last phrase she says? How do you understand it?

Keys: 

  1.  “Oversized, overconfident, too mean if I don’t smile, too black, too motivated for motherhood.”
  2. “There’s no wrong way to be a woman.” 

After watching 

  1. Do you consider “Until we win” to be the right slogan for Nike?
  2. Why do you think they chose Serena Williams to promote their product?
  3. Think of a few other slogans that would go well with this promotion.

5. Beside Not Behind 

Before watching 

  1. Have you heard the saying “Behind every great man there is a great woman”? Do you agree with it? 
  2. How would you change this statement?
  3. In your surroundings, are there many people who believe this saying to be true? What about your parents’ surroundings? Do you think this tendency is changing?  

While watching 

  1. What are the roles of men and women in this video?
  2. What is the turning point of the video? Why?
  3. How does hearing the final statement “beside not behind” is supposed to change the people’s view on the situation?

Keys: 

  1. At the beginning of the video men are portrayed as leading figures, and girls, on the other hand, are their silent shadows who are always behind them. 
  2. However, there’s a turning point in the video (0:44) where it is said “It’s time that support goes both ways”. We understand that women have always been there for men, but now it’s time for women to become equal partners rather than just stay behind. 
  3. People should realize that a woman isn’t a part of her man but his equal partner. 

After watching 

  1. Is it a good idea to post such an advert for International Women’s Day? Why or why not?
  2. Why is it crucial to see the same situation from different points of view?
  3. Do you think nowadays we tend to see two sides of the same coin? How is this changing our society?

6. Did you know?  

Before watching 

  1. Why do kids and teenagers need role models?
  2. Are there enough role models in all spheres for girls?
  3. Do you have a role model? Who are they?

While watching 

  1. What do the numbers 10,8%, 20% and 21,4% refer to?
  2. What is the main message of the video?
  3. Are 50 seconds enough to convey it?

Keys: 

  1. 10.8% of civil engineers, 20% of coders, 21.4% of head chiefs are women. The second and third questions can have different answers depending on the students’ opinion.
  2. The main idea is that children should be able to see more equality in the position of power – the society should accept more women to “men’s” positions.
  3. Answers may vary. The video is concise, but it conveys the key ideas about professional choices for females in the future. 

After watching 

  1. How are role models changing for new generations of kids?
  2. Can people become role models for themselves or only for others? Support your ideas. 
  3. Would you like to become a role model for younger kids? How would it make you feel?

7. Pantene ‘Braids of Strength’ ft Farah Ann 

Before watching 

  1. Have you heard of Farah Ann before? What do you know about this woman?
  2. What’s your attitude to celebrities promoting some cosmetics or other products?
  3. Do you know who represents the Pantene brand in your country? Do they have an inspirational ad, too?

While watching 

  1. What do we learn about Farah Ann’s life story?
  2. Who is the other woman in the video? How does she support Farah Ann?
  3. What’s the slogan that Pantene uses for this promotion? How is it related to the story told?

Keys: 

  1. Farah Ann is an artistic gymnast, and her life was full of struggle. Her professional life is full of ups and downs, but she never gives up and keeps inspiring women around the world. 
  2. It is her sister, and she supports Farah Ann by telling her how strong she is and how she “just doesn’t know how to quit” while also braiding Farah Ann’s hair. 
  3. “Stay strong. Stay beautiful. Stay in sports” – this slogan relates to the story because during the entire video we see how Farah Ann fought with hard life challenges and stayed strong and didn’t quit sports despite it. 

After watching 

  1. What’s your attitude to the ads that narrate someone’s life story?
  2. Why is the video named “Braids of Strength”?
  3. Why is it crucial for women to support each other in life challenges?

8.  Vodafone Raising Voices 

Before watching 

  1. Do you know any female presidents? 
  2. Would you like the president of your country to be a woman? Do you think it’s possible?
  3. Why do you think most presidents are men?

While watching

  1. How does the music in the video make you feel?
  2. Try to remember the questions in the video, make notes and retell them in your own words 
  3. Do these questions have any answers or are they rhetorical? What does the girl answer at the end of the video? 

Keys: 

  1. It’s a matter of opinion. Perhaps, your students can say that the music is inspiring, encouraging,and spiritual. 
  2. Why have there been so many male presidents and so few women? Why is it so difficult for moms to get back to work after having kids? Why is it that millions of women still have no access to technology? Can someone earn more just because of their gender? Why are almost all the superheroes men? Why do I only get to be the love interest. 
  3. They are rather rhetorical questions. The girl says: “I have no idea.”

After watching 

  1. What does this commercial tell us about the future? Do you share the same vision?
  2. Do you agree with the final statement of the promotion “For kids, gender differences make no difference?”
  3. From your point of view, what  will the future bring to all the girls and women?

What did you and your students think of the commercials? Do you know any other advertisements about women’s empowerment?

Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.


Алена Кладьева

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