The gender gap

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Document 1 : Hollywood: A boys’ club no longer


Have you looked around when buying a ticket at the cinema recently If you have you may have noticed the gender gap is shrink­ing. Women are beginning to have more impact than ever on ticket sales.

The phenomenon was particularly striking in the first quarter of this year in the US when women made up at least 60% of the audience for three films: Fifty Shades of Grey, Cinderella and The Divergent Series: Insurgent. Together the movies have brought in more than 480 million to date in North America, making a powerful statement.

Across the industry the growing power of female audiences is being recognised – as well as the ability of women to make films catering to a female market and beyond. “Reese Witherspoon is just really focused on creating more and more roles for herself and other women,” says British actor Michael Sheen, who believes women are making progress. “I think the demographic is opening up so anything that is not about white middle-aged males can also be a hit,” he says.

Women behind the camera, such as Reese Witherspoon, are essential for the female audience to be properly recognised.

The ability of women to drive the box office isn’t a surprise for top actress Carey Mulligan, who thinks the studios are being slow to capitalise on female power. “I think Hollywood is somehow catch­ing up a little,” she says. “It certainly has been proven over and over in the last couple of years, particularly with Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games, that female-driven films can be hugely successful. It’s one of the biggest films of the last decade. She’s the star and she’s the one bringing in the crowds, so certainly we can draw massive audiences.”


Document 2 : A male chauvinist

Juliet is having dinner at Matthew and Louisa Milford’s house.

“I had a girl phone in the other day,” Matthew said. “Mr Milford, she says, Mr Milford.” He put on a silly, high-pitched voice as the girl. “Mr Milford, I’m afraid I can’t come back when I said I would. Why not, I say. Well, Mr Milford, the thing is, my baby needs me.” he paused, and pantomimed amusement. “I need you, I say. But it’s not the same, she says. It’s not the same thing, Mr Milford. All I’m asking for is a little more time, she says. Darling, I say, how much time do you think you’ll need Will eighteen years be enough See him off to university On second thoughts, send him here when you’ve finished and I’ll give him a job!”

Matthew laughed loudly.

“But did you let her have more time ” Juliet asked shakily.

“Of course I didn’t. I’m not running a bloody NCT1 group. I told her she could come back when her three months were up or not come back at all. No hard feelings, I said. As far as I was concerned she could spend the rest of her life folding nappies2 if that was what she wanted to do with that fluff between her ears. As I say, no hard feelings.”

“People don’t fold nappies any more, darling,” said Louisa. “They buy them from the supermarket.” She winked at Juliet. “That tells you how many he’s changed.”

“She could stay at home playing happy families,” resumed Matthew. “Or she could come back and work for me on the day and time we agreed. End of story.”

“That’s illegal,” said Juliet.

There was a silence. Matthew stared down at his own powerful arms, folded across his chest. A dark red colour rose into his neck and face.

“I don’t think you can really say it’s actually illegal, Juliet,” said Louisa.

“I can. That’s exactly what it is.”

“But you can’t blame Matthew!”

Louisa looked around at them all with an air of gracious incredulity.

“Look, sweetie,” Matthew presently said to Juliet. “I’m not saying I don’t value all the wonderful work you women do. It’s a big job, running a family. It’s hard work. What I do say is that sometimes you don’t think about how it’s all going to get paid for. I pay for the house, the cars, the school fees, the au pair, the cleaner, the holidays, the gym membership, Lou’s wardrobe –” He counted it with his thick fingers in front of Juliet’s face, as though she ought to be grateful. “– and most of the time I’m not even here. So when the girl phones in and says she wants to spend more time with baby, and she wants me to pay for that too, I’m going to tell her where to get off.”

“You have to admit he’s got a point,” said Louisa, while Matthew took a long, bellicose swallow from his wineglass.

“She could take you to court,” said Juliet.

He lifted his head a little with predatory alertness.

“She won’t,” he said steadily.

“Well, she should.”

Rachel Cusk, Arlington Park, 2006.

1. NCT: The National Childbirth Trust is a British charity offering information and support to new parents.

2. nappies: couches pour bébés.


Document 1

1 1. True or false Answer the question and justify by quoting the text.

a) The proportion of women who go to the cinema is increasing.

b) Only films centered around male characters are successful.

c) Some women are film directors.

2. What is explained about the evolution of the film industry Choose the right answer.

a) Men are less and less dominant in the movie industry.

b) Women are less and less dominant in the movie industry.

c) In general, more women than men go to the cinema.

3. Explain, in your own words, the three ways in which women contribute to this evolution.

4. Is Hollywood adapting quickly to this evolution Answer the question and justify your answer by quoting the text.

2 What do the three films (Fifty Shades of Grey, Cinderella and The Divergent Series: Insurgent) have in common

a) They were blockbusters.

b) They only appealed to middle-aged people.

c) They were made by women.

d) They particularly appealed to women.

Document 2

3 Focus on the beginning of the text.

1. Finish the sentence by choosing the right ending.

The phone conversation mentioned in the text took place…

a) while Juliet, Matthew and Louisa Milford were having dinner.

b) just before dinner.

c) a few days before the characters had dinner together.

2. Who do the underlined pronouns refer to

a) “I had a girl phone in the other day” (l. 1)

b) “Mr Milford, she says” (l. 1-2)

c) “Mr Milford, I’m afraid” (l. 3)

d) “I need you” (l. 5)

e) “I’ll give him a job” (l. 10)

3. Choose the right ending to finish the sentence.

Italics in the first paragraph are used…

a) to indicate what Louisa said on the phone.

b) to indicate what Matthew said on the phone.

c) to indicate what the girl said on the phone.

4 Fill in the gaps with the appropriate element to explain the relationship between the characters.

Juliet – Louisa – the girl

Matthew is…

1. ____________’s husband.

2. ____________’s boss.

3. ____________’s host.

5 Match the characters with the following thoughts. One character has two thoughts.

a) Matthew

b) Louisa


d) The girl


Documents 1 and 2

6 Choose the correct answer.

Both documents raise the question of:

a) girls’ education.

b) gender equality.

c) housewives’ happiness.

d) women’s unemployment.

7 Domination is associated with one other element common to both texts.

Choose the appropriate element from the list below and justify with one quote from each text.

a) Skin colour

b) Education

c) Social status

d) Money

e) Marital status


 Choose ONE of the following subjects. (150 words minimum)

1 You are Jeremy or Jessica, a young reporter, and you are interviewing a famous actress for your school magazine. You want to know how she feels as a woman in her job and what her plans are to give women more visibility in the film industry.


2 The students’ association in your school wants to create a movie club and has submitted three projects. You are Henry or Helen, president of the students’ association, and you send a memo to the school head to present the project you have selected (1, 2 or 3). Write the presentation.

Project 1

The History of cinema


Every Tuesday after lunch


One movie every week, from silent movies to the latest blockbusters.

Project 2

Films around the world


Every Friday evening


Films in their original version, with subtitles, from the 5 continents.

Project 3

Science fiction films


Every Wednesday after school


Science fiction or fantasy movies.

Les clés du sujet

Document 1

La source

Fondée en 1922, la BBC est le groupe de radio et de télévision national britannique.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Les femmes jouent un rôle grandissant dans l’industrie du cinéma, qu’elles soient spectatrices, actrices ou réalisatrices.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

a gap (l. 2) : un fossé  to shrink (l. 2-3) : rétrécir  striking (l. 5) : frappant  to cater to (l. 13) : répondre aux besoins de  to drive (l. 21) : stimuler  to catch up (l. 23-24) : se mettre au niveau  to draw (l. 28) : attirer.

Document 2


Rachel Cusk (1967-) est une romancière canadienne qui vit au Royaume-Uni. Plusieurs de ses romans ont remporté des prix. Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

À la stupéfaction de son invitée, un homme raconte lors d’un dîner comment il a refusé un jour à l’une de ses employées de prolonger son congé maternité : selon lui une femme doit choisir entre son foyer ou son métier.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

high-pitched (l. 2) : haut-perché  fluff between someone’s ears (l. 17) : (ici) n’avoir rien dans la tête  to wink (l. 20) : faire un clin d’œil  school fees (l. 39) : frais de scolarité  to tell someone where to get off (l. 44-45) : envoyer qqn promener  to take someone to court (l. 48) : faire un procès à qqn.

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes traitent de l’évolution de la place des femmes dans la société : place grandissante dans certains domaines, mais dans d’autres, persistance du machisme de certains hommes.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Une direction possible

Questions sur le type de rôles attribués à l’actrice de votre choix (par exemple Scarlett Johansson, en tête du « box office » mondial en 2016), sur son désir de jouer des rôles moins stéréotypés et son envie d’écrire un scénario ou de réaliser un film.

Key ideas

Producers are prejudiced in their choices of roles for women we should break away from stereotypes I wish I could play less stereotyped roles I plan to write a script women have a lot to bring to the film industry.

Le sujet d’expression 2

Une direction possible

Dans cette lettre, argumentation développée des éléments proposés dans le projet que vous aurez choisi. Ce que le club peut apporter au lycée afin de convaincre le proviseur de soutenir le projet.

Key ideas

We suggest meetings should take place… it is an opportunity for students to… it will make it possible for the school to… it will benefit the school...



Document 1

1 1. a) True: “Women are beginning to have more impact than ever on ticket sales” (l. 3-4).

b) False: “anything that is not about white middle-aged males can also be a hit” (l. 16-17).

c) True: “Women behind the camera, such as Reese Witherspoon” (l. 19).

2. a) Men are less and less dominant in the movie industry.

3. More and more women go to the cinema, there are now female directors creating roles for female actresses, there are more and more female stars who bring in larger audiences.

4. Hollywood was slow to adapt at first: “studios are being slow to capitalise on female power” (l. 22-23) but seems to be making progress in this field “it […] has been proven over and over in the last couple of years […] that female-driven films can be hugely successful” (l. 24-27).

2 a) They were blockbusters. d) They particularly appealed to women.

Document 2

3 1. c) a few days before the characters had dinner together.

2. a) Matthew b) the girl c) the girl d) Matthew e) the girl’s baby

3. c) to indicate what the girl said on the phone.

4 1. Louisa. 2. the girl. 3. Juliet.

5 a) 2 and 3 b) 5 c) 4 d) 1

Documents 1 and 2

6 b) gender equality.

7 d) money.

Document 1: “The ability of women to drive the box office isn’t a surprise” (l. 21).

Document 2: “I pay for the house, the cars, […] Lou’s wardrobe” (l. 38-40).


2 Guidelines

To the headmistress


The school’s students’ association has selected the project “Films around the world” to start a movie club.

We suggest meetings should take place every Friday evening which would be a pleasant start to the weekend and a better opportunity for long debates after viewing the films.

Un peu de vocabulaire

director: réalisateur/trice

We think that films in their original versions with subtitles would be best to respect the directors’ artistic views and help the students improve their listening skills in different languages.

Above all, the project will make it possible for the school to promote cultures and languages from the five continents which will bring a better understanding of other people and teach students tolerance. This will have an impact on everyday life at school, as we have students from various ethnic backgrounds. Besides, it will benefit the school’s image of open-mindedness.

I do hope you will agree with this project and help us set it up.

Yours sincerely

Henry Smith