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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of gender and study/education from the real IELTS exam.

It features two very common topics – education and gender.

Before you read, you can also check out my online courses here and my corrections here.

Enjoy!

Dave

Listen to the audio and take notes for some extra practice then read the essay:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Gender & Study (Real Past IELTS Exam/Test)

In many schools and universities today, women have a tendency to study the humanities (such as the arts and languages) while men more often major in science related subjects. Some believe this tendency should be changed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Test/Exam

Today more and more parents and policymakers are concerned with the disproportionate ratio of males studying science relative to females. In my opinion, though there are likely social factors at play here that need addressing, there is little value enforcing this change.

The main reason that many are striving to remedy this imbalance is because they feel it is societal, not natural. For centuries, women have subjugated their careers and education to male siblings and husbands. This has led to a history of mostly male role models in scientific pursuits, with women like Mary Shelly and Frida more likely to shine in the arts. Even today, there is a widespread bias that men are better at science that may discourage girls. There have been a number of famous studies cataloging the gender imbalance in science, with most researchers attributing this to social, rather than genetic, factors.

Nonetheless, heavy-handed efforts to force change are detrimental to both men and women. Women who are helped or strongly encouraged to pursue science rather than the arts will be less self-reliant and more likely to develop self-esteem problems. A corollary example would be the failure of affirmative action to promote racial equality. Individuals prosper when societal barriers to success are removed and they are given the opportunity to help themselves. If overly strong measures are taken, such as a quota of female majors in a given subject, that might place less qualified candidates above more deserving ones and then later manifest itself in reduced self-confidence from the unfairly elevated and resentment from those who were passed over.

In conclusion, though I am in favour of all reforms to provide for equal educational opportunity for the sexes, attempts to reform a tendency rather than allow for its change will bring about more harm than good. Rather, parents and educators should encourage students to pursue their passions.

Analysis

1. Today more and more parents and policymakers are concerned with the disproportionate ratio of males studying science relative to females. 2. In my opinion, though there are likely social factors at play here that need addressing, there is little value enforcing this change.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic.
  2. Clearly state your opinion.

1. The main reason that many are striving to remedy this imbalance is because they feel it is societal, not natural. 2. For centuries, women have subjugated their careers and education to male siblings and husbands. 3. This has led to a history of mostly male role models in scientific pursuits, with women like Mary Shelly and Frida more likely to shine in the arts. 4. Even today, there is a widespread bias that men are better at science that may discourage girls. 5. There have been a number of famous studies cataloging the gender imbalance in science, with most researchers attributing this to social, rather than genetic, factors.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Develop it – here I start with an historical arguments.
  3. Then I state the result of this history.
  4. Finally I connect it to the present day.
  5. And conclude with some research to back up my claim.

1. Nonetheless, heavy-handed efforts to force change are detrimental to both men and women. 2. Women who are helped or strongly encouraged to pursue science rather than the arts will be less self-reliant and more likely to develop self-esteem problems. 3. A corollary example would be the failure of affirmative action to promote racial equality. 4. Individuals prosper when societal barriers to success are removed and they are given the opportunity to help themselves. 5. If overly strong measures are taken, such as a quota of female majors in a given subject, that might place less qualified candidates above more deserving ones and then later manifest itself in reduced self-confidence from the unfairly elevated and resentment from those who were passed over.

  1. Write another topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to support your opinion.
  3. Use an example – here I argue by analogy.
  4. Develop your example.
  5. Finish your development. Vary using long and short sentences.

1. In conclusion, though I am in favour of all reforms to provide for equal educational opportunity for the sexes, attempts to reform a tendency rather than allow for its change will bring about more harm than good. 2. Rather, parents and educators should encourage students to pursue their passions.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add in a final detail/thought.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean:

Today more and more parents and policymakers are concerned with the disproportionate ratio of males studying science relative to females. In my opinion, though there are likely social factors at play here that need addressing, there is little value enforcing this change.

The main reason that many are striving to remedy this imbalance is because they feel it is societal, not natural. For centuries, women have subjugated their careers and education to male siblings and husbands. This has led to a history of mostly male role models in scientific pursuits, with women like Mary Shelly and Frida more likely to shine in the arts. Even today, there is a widespread bias that men are better at science that may discourage girls. There have been a number of famous studies cataloging the gender imbalance in science, with most researchers attributing this to social, rather than genetic, factors.

Nonetheless, heavy-handed efforts to force change are detrimental to both men and women. Women who are helped or strongly encouraged to pursue science rather than the arts will be less self-reliant and more likely to develop self-esteem problems. A corollary example would be the failure of affirmative action to promote racial equality. Individuals prosper when societal barriers to success are removed and they are given the opportunity to help themselves. If overly strong measures are taken, such as a quota of female majors in a given subject, that might place less qualified candidates above more deserving ones and then later manifest itself in reduced self-confidence from the unfairly elevated and resentment from those who were passed over.

In conclusion, though I am in favour of all reforms to provide for equal educational opportunity for the sexes, attempts to reform a tendency rather than allow for its change will bring about more harm than good. Rather, parents and educators should encourage students to pursue their passions.

Answers

policymakers politicians

concerned worried about

disproportionate ratio too many of one group

relative to in comparison to

social factors at play how society influences

need addressing must be dealt with

little value enforcing this change not much to be gained from making this reform

striving trying to

remedy fix

imbalance not equal

societal related to society

natural related to genetic predisposition

centuries hundreds of years

subjugated made less/lower

siblings brothers and sisters

scientific pursuits working in science

Mary Shelly author of Frankenstein

Frida Mexican painter

shine stand out

widespread bias stereotypes

discourage not encourage, dissuade

cataloging keeping track of

gender imbalance unequal in terms of men/women

attributing this

genetic natural

heavy-handed efforts strong attempts

detrimental hurts

self-reliant responsible

self-esteem problems feeling bad about yourself

corollary example analogous instance

affirmative action giving more opportunity to a specific race

promote racial equality make the races more equal

prosper succeed

societal barriers institutional setbacks

removed taken away

overly strong measures too powerful actions

quota set number

in a given subject in a specific major

place less qualified candidates above promote people less deserving

deserving ones those who earned it

manifest become true

reduced self-confidence lower self-esteem

unfairly elevated unjustly promotoed

resentment dislike of

passed over skipped

in favour of preferring

reforms changes

equal educational opportunity same chance for all

attempts tries

reform changes

tendency inclination

bring about more harm than good hurt more than help

rather instead of

pursue their passions strive after their dreams

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ˈpɒlɪsiˈmeɪkəz 
kənˈsɜːnd 
ˌdɪsprəˈpɔːʃnɪt ˈreɪʃɪəʊ 
ˈrɛlətɪv tuː 
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈfæktəz æt pleɪ 
niːd əˈdrɛsɪŋ
ˈlɪtl ˈvæljuː ɪnˈfɔːsɪŋ ðɪs ʧeɪnʤ
ˈstraɪvɪŋ 
ˈrɛmɪdi 
ɪmˈbæləns 
səˈsaɪətl
ˈnæʧrəl
ˈsɛnʧʊriz
ˈsʌbʤʊgeɪtɪd 
ˈsɪblɪŋz 
ˌsaɪənˈtɪfɪk pəˈsjuːts
ˈmeəri ˈʃɛli 
friːdə
ʃaɪn 
ˈwaɪdsprɛd ˈbaɪəs 
dɪsˈkʌrɪʤ 
ˈkætəlɒgɪŋ 
ˈʤɛndər ɪmˈbæləns 
əˈtrɪbjuːtɪŋ ðɪs 
ʤɪˈnɛtɪk
ˈhɛvɪˈhændɪd ˈɛfəts 
ˌdɛtrɪˈmɛntl 
sɛlf-rɪˈlaɪənt 
sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm ˈprɒbləmz
kəˈrɒləri ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
əˈfɜːmətɪv ˈækʃ(ə)n 
prəˈməʊt ˈreɪʃəl i(ː)ˈkwɒlɪti
ˈprɒspə 
səˈsaɪətl ˈbærɪəz
rɪˈmuːvd 
ˈəʊvəli strɒŋ ˈmɛʒəz 
ˈkwəʊtə 
ɪn ə ˈgɪvn ˈsʌbʤɪkt
pleɪs lɛs ˈkwɒlɪfaɪd ˈkændɪdɪts əˈbʌv 
dɪˈzɜːvɪŋ wʌnz 
ˈmænɪfɛst 
rɪˈdjuːst sɛlf-ˈkɒnfɪdəns 
ʌnˈfeəli ˈɛlɪveɪtɪd 
rɪˈzɛntmənt 
pɑːst ˈəʊvə
ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv 
ˌriːˈfɔːmz 
ˈiːkwəl ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 
əˈtɛmpts 
ˌriːˈfɔːm 
ˈtɛndənsi 
brɪŋ əˈbaʊt mɔː hɑːm ðæn gʊd
ˈrɑːðə
pəˈsjuː ðeə ˈpæʃənz

Vocabulary Practice

What do the words in bold below mean?

Today more and more parents and policymakers are concerned with the disproportionate ratio of males studying science relative to females. In my opinion, though there are likely social factors at play here that need addressing, there is little value enforcing this change.

The main reason that many are striving to remedy this imbalance is because they feel it is societal, not natural. For centuries, women have subjugated their careers and education to male sibligings and husbands. This has led to a history of mostly male role models in scientific pursuits, with women like Mary Shelly and Frida more likely to shine in the arts. Even today, there is a widespread bias that men are better at science that may discourage girls. There have been a number of famous studies cataloging the gender imbalance in science, with most researchers attributing this to social, rather than genetic, factors.

Nonetheless, heavy-handed efforts to force change are detrimental to both men and women. Women who are helped or strongly encouraged to pursue science rather than the arts will be less self-reliant and more likely to develop self-esteem problems. A corollary example would be the failure of affirmative action to promote racial equality. Individuals prosper when societal barriers to success are removed and they are given the opportunity to help themselves. If overly strong measures are taken, such as a quota of female majors in a given subject, that might place less qualified candidates above more deserving ones and then later manifest itself in reduced self-confidence from the unfairly elevated and resentment from those who were passed over.

In conclusion, though I am in favour of all reforms to provide for equal educational opportunity for the sexes, attempts to reform a tendency rather than allow for its change will bring about more harm than good. Rather, parents and educators should encourage students to pursue their passions.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn more about gender equality here:

Reading Practice

And read more about this topic from The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

Speaking Practice

Answer the related questions about science below from the real speaking exam:

Science

  1. Do you like science?
  2. Did you learn about science in primary school?
  3. How often do you read about science?
  4. Why is science important to learn about?

Writing Practice

Write about the related topic below then check with my sample answer:

Throughout history, male leaders have led us into violence and conflict. If a society is governed by female leaders it will be more peaceful.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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