Pay gap between men and women

Subject: Social studies

To increase students’ awareness of workers’ rights and the child benefits in their country, to help students understand the positions of different stakeholders in workers’ rights situations.


1) The teacher divides the students into five groups:



trade union,

coalition of enterprises,

women’s rights activists.

If students are of very different ability, the weakest students should be in the Govt. and opposition, as these are the easiest roles.

2) Each group is explained that they will be presented with a problem and a possible solution from the Govt. and the opposition and they need to come up with their groups side – is their whole group for or against the Govt. plan.

Later each group will have to give a 2-3 minute speech about their position, answer questions about their speech and there will be a vote on the Govt. plan and the opposition plan. In the voting every member of the group can vote as they wish meaning that for example some women’s rights activists might vote one way and some might vote the other way. The opposition will have a slightly different role that will be explained only to them.

3) The problem is presented. The problem is as follows: There is a pay gap between men and women. Some of the pay gap comes from the fact that men and women tend to work at different jobs but some of the pay gap also comes from the fact that employeers expect women to get pregnant, stay at home with the infant and later in life stay at home when the young child is sick etc. This means that women are perceived to be a less reliable workforce who are absent more often.

The teacher also lets the students know which child benefits there are currently avaivable in your country (for ex. paid maternity leave etc)

4) Govt. plan is presented. The govt. wished to introduce a law where women are allowed to sign such contracts with their employees that prohibit the women from getting pregnant for a certain amount of time thus eliminating their perceived weakness.

5) All students besides the opposition start their work.

6) The opposition now gets their role without other students finding out the oppositions role. The opposition is against the govt. plan and has a better plan. They would make it a law that all men and women have to take an equal amount of paternal leave.

7) A member of each group gives a 2-3 minute speech on the topic. They must say if they are for or against govt. plan and why. They are also allowed to comment on the oppositions’ plan if they wish to do so.

Speeches are given in the order:



coalition of enterprises,

trade union,

women’s rights activists.

After each speech anybody in the room except members of the same group can ask questions from the speaker.

8) After all speeches are heard, there is a vote on the govt. plan. Remind students that everybody can vote as they wish, they do not have to vote the same way as their whole group. Votes are tallied and the same is done for the opposition plan.

9) The teacher lets the students know which (if any) laws are passed and recaps the lesson.