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2007 GCE ‘A’ Level General Paper (Paper 2)

1 Give three ways in which paragraph 1 shows that the gender revolution is different
from the ‘apocalyptic scenarios’ (line 2). Use your own words as far as possible. [3]

Contextual cue:
“The gender revolution is unlike these.” (line 7)


(a) “You do not have to read (a) It is a matter of personal 1
newspapers … It is all around experience – you do not need the
you in your friends’ lives and in media to inform you of it.
your own” (lines 7 – 10)
(b) “It is already in full flow” (b) It is already happening at a great 1
(line 10) rate. / It is wholly a reality.
(c) it is “not necessarily … (c) It may not be disastrous. 1
catastrophic” (line 11)
(d) “it is within the power of (d) Everyone can reduce / modify / 1
every individual … make less harmful its effects.
ameliorate its effects” (line
Any 3 of the above will secure 3 marks.

2 ‘pandemics spread by superbugs…’ (line 5) Which phrase earlier in this first sentence
explains the three dots at its conclusion? [1]

The three dots punctuation mark is usually used to indicate that there is more to

Contextual cue:
“destruction and radical change of habitat, both human and animal, … pandemics
spread by superbugs…” (lines 2 – 5)


The author gave a long list of The phrase is “the seemingly endless 1
possible disasters, so the three dots catalogue”.
probably indicate more disasters to

Upon examining the first sentence,

the only phrase that pertains to this

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3 Why does the author refer to pre-human history in lines 16 – 17? [1]

Contextual cue:
“Even before they came down from the trees … fulfilled these roles since time
immemorial.” (lines 16 – 17)


The sentence is literally The author wants to emphasise how deeply 1
about how these roles embedded / innate traditional gender roles
have been in place for a are in men and women.
long time.
N.B. For an inferential question, candidates
should not be giving the literal meaning.

4 (a) ‘paternity was understood’ (line 20). What advance in understanding of gender
relations does this refer to? [1]

Contextual cue:
“Before the link between sexual activity and fertility was understood” (line 17 –


The wording of the given People realised that men were equally 1
phrase echoes the important in the creation of life / producing
wording of an earlier offspring / reproduction.
phrase (see above). The
situations described by
both phrases also reflect
a change, or “advance”,
in understanding of
gender relations.

4 (b) How did this new understanding influence the status of women? Use your own
words as far as possible. [1]


“She was relegated to a Women’s status was reduced as they became 1
drudge … He was subservient to men, and were regarded as
indisputably the boss.” merely bearers of their children.
(lines 20 – 21)

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5 Which references earlier in paragraph 2 justify the word ‘almost’ in line 25? [2]

The word ‘almost’ is used to indicate that there are exceptions. Hence, candidates
should be looking for exceptions, i.e. times in history in which women were not
living in a man’s world, or were perceived as being powerful in their own right.


“She was the She was once prayed to as the enigmatic ½
mysterious source of and divine Moon Goddess who gave life. ½
life … even worshipped
as the Moon Goddess”
(lines 18 – 19)
“notions of Her as Isis, … She was looked up to as Isis, who was the ½
Osiris” (line 23) equal to the male god, Osiris.
“unapproachable object She was considered the unobtainable object ½
of Romantic Love” (line of Romantic Love.
All 3 references are required for the full 2 marks.

6 According to paragraph 3, why would women be more comfortable in the workplace

nowadays than in the past? Use your own words as far as possible. [2]

Contextual cue:
The question contrasts “nowadays” and the “past”, so candidates should be looking
for phrases that signal changes. In this case:
“The revolution began…”
“It was less than a century ago that … women for the first time…”


“men started inventing ways Work no longer relies on physical ½
of doing things … less back- strength.
breaking” (line 26 – 27)

“nature of the workplace …

operated by fingertips”
(lines 33 – 34)
“birth-control techniques … Contraception allows women to restrict ½
limit their families and enter the size of their families and frees them
the world of work” (lines 31 to join the labour force while still caring
– 33) for smaller families.
“authoritarian, confrontational Management styles have radically ½
management … given way … changed to favour women’s strengths ½
co-operative enterprises in and abilities.
which women feel at home”

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(lines 34 – 36)

7 What does the expression ‘brothers-in-arms’ (line 66) suggest about male behaviour?

“Brothers” suggests a very close bond, and “arms” suggests the use of weapons,
which is a sign of aggression.


“He was silently stalking his prey, or It suggests the aggressive ½
exchanging grunts with his brothers- and bonding nature of males. ½
in-arms.” (lines 65 – 66)
The act of stalking prey suggests that
team work and aggression is required.

8 Explain what the author means by ‘gender education needs to supplement mere sex
education’ (line 74). [2]

The phrase in the question indicates that the author thinks that there should be
both gender education and sex education. Candidates have to explain what “gender
education” and “sex education” entail.


“gender education needs to The author believes that children should
supplement mere sex be taught about the relationship 1
education in schools” (lines between the sexes / their
73 – 75) psychological and behavioural
differences / their different but equal 1
capacities, as well as purely biological
or anatomical facts.

9 Give the meaning of the following words as they are used in the passage. You may
write your answer in one word or a short phrase. [5]

1 mark ½ mark
(a) daunting (line 6) • Intimidating • Scary (wrong context)
• Disheartening
“These disasters
may or may not
happen; but their
scale is daunting
and the individual

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feels powerless to
influence them”
(lines 6 – 7)
(b) titillating (line 9) • Exciting and enjoyable / • Exciting
entertaining • Interesting
“failed relationships • Interesting and enjoyable
of celebrities and / entertaining N.B. The element of enjoyment /
their sad or merely entertainment must be present.
titillating As such, this word requires a
consequences” phrase rather than a word to be
(lines 8 – 9) sufficiently explained.
(c) imperceptibly • Gradually • Very slightly / Slightly
(line 26) • Subtly (wrong context)
• Not discernibly
“The revolution
about two hundred
years ago” (line 26)
(d) conditioned (line • Trained / Taught to the • Trained
43) extent that it becomes • Taught
automatic / second nature
“The early feminists N.B. The element of it becoming
thought that if girls automatic / second nature must
and boys behaved be present. As such, this word
differently it was requires a phrase rather than a
because they were word to be sufficiently
conditioned to do explained.
so by societies and
parents still clinging
to old stereotypes.”
(lines 42 – 44)
(e) mindset (line 78) • A fixed way of thinking • Thinking
• Ideas
“mindset of our
grandparents” (line N.B. The element of it being
78) fixed must be present. As such,
this word requires a phrase
rather than a word to be
sufficiently explained.

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10 Using material from paragraphs 3 to 5 of the passage (lines 26 – 66), summarise

the causes of the gender revolution, how it initially threatened conflict between the
sexes, and what recent research has shown about how this conflict may be

Write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening words
which are printed below. Use your own words as far as possible. [8]

The gender revolution began when …


“Causes of the gender revolution”
1 “men started inventing ways of doing people derived methods of working
things which were less back-breaking that were less strenuous [½] and
and more productive” (lines 26 – 27) more efficient [½].
2 “It was less … birth-control techniques Secondly, contraception [½] allowed
… women were able to limit their women to control their family size
families and enter the world of work.” [½].
(lines 30 – 33)
3 “nature of the workplace … Lastly, women were more at ease as
authoritarian, confrontational aggressive management styles
management … given way to co- changed [½] to favour their pro-
operative enterprises … women feel at social tendencies [½].
home” (lines 33 – 36)
“How it initially threatened conflict between the sexes”
4 “the generation that first experience these However, people were initially not able
changes was unable to understand or to comprehend [½] or manage [½]
cope with them” (lines 37 – 38) these shifts.
5 “women demanded equality with men at Women insisted on being treated the

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work, … in everything” (lines 38 – 40) same [½] as men in all aspects [½].
6 “unfortunately, equality was too often Sadly, they subsequently had the
mistake for identity … They – biologically flawed idea that the genders have
different, but in almost every other identical profiles [½] but are drilled
way the same … conditioned to do so to automatically [½] adopt
… clinging to the old stereotypes” (lines dissimilar ones.
41 – 44)
7 ‘When, despite equal opportunities, When differential treatment
women still failed to achieve equality persisted [½], they accused men of
… male conspiracy … great War of the ganging up on them [½],
Sexes seemed about to break out.” (lines threatening clashes between the
47 – 49) genders.
“What recent research has shown about how this conflict may be addressed”
8 “Fortunately, the conflict can be averted Luckily, scientific studies today have
… knowledge! … computer brain-scans … indisputably proven [½] that
statistical surveys and analyses of human
behaviour … established beyond all
doubt that … indeed, true.” (lines 50 –
9 “He and She are different. Profoundly men and women are significantly
so. She has developed … connecting dissimilar as they have evolved
nerve fibres … He has a brain which is different mental attributes [½] due
more compartmentalised and to the ancient division of labour.
specialised.” (lines 54 – 56)
10 “The hunter … developed bigger eyes The men became tougher [½] and
with tunnel vision … His thick skin … evolved the effective eyesight [½]
comparatively insensitive to pain … and thought processes [½] that
calculating rapidly and accurately tune in to attack for food.
where the food was” (lines 56 – 61)
11 “caring for the kids, She developed a In caring for people, women evolved
greater peripheral vision to monitor the abilities to view wide sections of
her immediate surroundings … learned her environment [½], multi-task
to do a dozen things at the same time, [½], be sensitive [½], and
her five sense became far more finely communicate well [½].
tuned … verbal and body language
grew while He was silently stalking his
prey … grunts with his brothers-in-arms”
(lines 61 – 65)

Sample summary
The gender revolution began when people derived methods of working that were less
strenuous and more efficient. Secondly, contraception allowed women to control their
family size. Lastly, women were more at ease as aggressive management styles changed
to favour their pro-social tendencies. However, people were initially not able to
comprehend or manage these shifts. Women insisted on being treated the same as men
in all aspects. Sadly, they subsequently had the flawed idea that the genders have
identical profiles but are drilled to automatically adopt dissimilar ones. When differential
treatment persisted, they accused men of ganging up on them, threatening clashes

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between the genders. Luckily, scientific studies today have indisputably proven that men
and women are significantly dissimilar as they have evolved different mental attributes.
(120 words)

11 In this article, Chan Wai Leong gives an account of what he calls the ‘gender

To what extent do you agree or disagree with his views? Support your answer with
examples drawn from your society’s experience of the ‘gender revolution’.[8]

R1 = To what extent do you agree or disagree with his views?

R2 = Support your answer with examples drawn from your society’s experience of the
‘gender revolution’

Author’s Views Agree Disagree

Comparing the ‘gender The ‘gender revolution’ is a Chan is exaggerating. In
revolution’ to “apocalyptic fundamental and important fact, one can argue that
scenarios” (line 2). change, as suggested by women have always held
the apocalyptic scenarios. considerable amounts of
soft power. This is a key
E.g.: Singapore society is aspect that should not be
still dealing with ignored.
fundamental shifts due to
the effects of female E.g.: The matriarch of a
emancipation, such as family. / The power of
declining birth rates. mothers to mould the next
Claiming that women joined To some extent, changes in Chan has overlooked the
the work force as conditions work processes and the fact that women were often
became more favourable to advent of contraception did not solely homemakers
them (paragraph 3). give women more leeway to even in the past. Due to
join a larger variety of sheer economic necessity, a
occupations. number were involved in
cottage industries, and
E.g.: More women are many helped out in family
joining previously male- businesses or on family
centred occupations like farms. Arguably, women
engineering, as these have always contributed to
occupations become less the workforce, though their
physically demanding. contributions are usually
ignored by prevailing

E.g.: Coffee shops or hawker

stores in Singapore, where
the ‘Lady Boss’ is a familiar

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The idea that men and Chan did cite scientific However, we cannot
women behave differently studies that proved that completely ignore the
as they are conditioned men and women have effects of conditioning. Even
from the time they are different ways of processing if men and women are
young, does not hold external stimuli. He also biologically different,
(paragraphs 4 – 5). gave logical explanations conditioning can serve to
for these findings. exacerbate or minimise
these differences. In some
E.g.: In Singapore, cases, females may even
occupations that rely on show a preference for a
spatial sense, such as typically ‘male’ way of
driving, tend to be male- processing external stimuli,
dominated, while and vice versa. Chan should
occupations that rely on not over-generalise.
emotional connections, such
as service, tend to be E.g.: In Singapore, girls can
female-dominated. actually score better at
Mathematics and Science,
which are usually perceived
as being the boys’ strong
Women accuse men of In some cases, women point However, there are
conspiring against them fingers at men without instances of institutionalised
when they fail to get equal considering that their discrimination when men
opportunity (lines 47 – 49). reasons for differential are paid more or given more
treatment may not be due opportunities to be
to gender discrimination. promoted.

E.g.: Some women cite E.g.: In Singapore, men are

gender discrimination when paid more due to their
they are dismissed when experience during National
they apply for maternity Service. However, some
leave. However, small men had an extremely
companies may genuinely leisurely two years, leading
be unable to spare a worker people to question if such
in this hostile economic preferential treatment is
climate. justified.
Chan blames ignorance of Communications break Chan should not over-
gender differences for “high down is frequently cited as simplify the causes of
divorce rates” (line 67). a reason for a failed divorce. The fact remains
marriage. This can possibly that divorces are often
be avoided if men and messy as many factors are
women understood their involved, not just gender
differences and could work differences.
around it.
E.g.: Some couples are
E.g.: Marriage counselling fundamentally incompatible
often centres on getting due to different values or
couples to understand and approaches to life, which
appreciate differences. may not be due to gender.

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Chan suggests that “gender A greater understanding What Chan refers to as

education needs to and appreciation of what “gender education” should
supplement mere sex makes the different genders actually come under the
education in schools” (lines tick may help individuals broader category of
74 – 75). negotiate the twists and character education, where
turns of human people are taught to
relationships better. appreciate and live with
differences, and become an
E.g.: Many courses on inclusive society. This does
Emotional Intelligence in not apply solely to gender
Singapore schools aim to but to aspects like ethnic
help students understand and religious harmony as
different personality types well. Focusing on gender
and so, relate to others education alone is too
better. Gender education narrow.
can possibly go along the
same path. Besides, teaching theories
alone is pointless. It is far
more effective if people
actually see it in action.

E.g.: In many Singaporean

schools, students are
encouraged to take up key
roles, whether they are
male or female.
“we are still, in our gender Males are often still Our present mindsets have
relations, stuck in the expected to play a changed quite substantially
mindset of our dominant role, be it in being from our grandparents’ era
grandparents” (lines 77 – a leader, speaking up, or due to radical changes in
78) even in courtships. Men who our society.
exhibit ‘feminine’ qualities,
such as being emotional, E.g.: More women are
are also mocked. Similarly, becoming leaders in the
women are still expected to economic and political
play a supportive, or even fields, and often, parents
decorative, role. are willing to support their
daughters’ career
E.g.: In an informal poll by ambitions. Statistically,
The Straits Times, the most more Singaporean women
influential local newspaper, are getting married later, or
majority of Singaporean not at all.
men cite appearance as
being the most important
quality they look for in a
future spouse.