[IELTS Vocabulary] Social issues

ielts vocabulary topic social issues

This vocabulary list is for reference only. Your Lexical Resource scores are calculated based on the overall level of vocabulary used in your writing and speaking answers. To improve your Lexical Resource scores, it is necessary that you improve your overall level of vocabulary.

However, skillfully incorporating these words in your writing and speaking answers together with a good vocabulary level will increase the chance of enhanced Lexical Recourse scores.

Vocabulary list

1. Poverty and Inequality

Word/PhraseTypeMeaningExample
PovertyNounState of being extremely poorPoverty is a significant social issue in many countries.
InequalityNounDisparity or unfairness in opportunities or resourcesAddressing inequality is crucial for social justice.
Socioeconomic statusNoun phrasePosition or rank in society based on income, education, and occupationSocioeconomic status often determines access to resources.
Wealth disparityNoun phraseThe threshold below which individuals or families are considered poorWealth disparity widens the gap between the rich and the poor.
Economic inequalityNoun phraseUnequal distribution of wealth and resourcesEconomic inequality perpetuates social disparities.
Poverty lineNoun phraseThreshold below which individuals or families are considered poorMany families live below the poverty line despite working multiple jobs.
Social mobilityNoun phraseAbility to move up or down in social statusSocial mobility is limited in societies with high inequality.
MarginalizedAdjectiveExcluded or disadvantaged within societyMarginalized groups often face barriers to opportunities.
Income inequalityNoun phraseDisproportionate distribution of incomeIncome inequality contributes to social and economic instability.
Food insecurityNoun phraseLack of access to sufficient and nutritious foodFood insecurity affects millions of people around the world.

2. Gender Roles and Equality

Word/PhraseTypeMeaningExample
Gender rolesNoun phraseSocially constructed expectations about how men and women should behaveGender roles have evolved over time but still influence societal expectations.
Gender equalityNoun phraseEqual treatment and opportunities regardless of genderGender equality is a fundamental human right.
Gender stereotypesNoun phraseOversimplified beliefs about characteristics or roles based on genderChallenging gender stereotypes is essential for achieving equality.
EmpowermentNounAuthority or power to do somethingEmpowerment of women and girls is essential for gender equality.
Gender discriminationNoun phraseUnfair treatment based on genderGender discrimination violates human rights principles.
Gender identityNoun phraseIndividual’s personal sense of genderUnderstanding gender identity is crucial for creating inclusive environments.
FeminismNounAdvocacy for women’s rights and gender equalityFeminism aims to address systemic inequalities based on gender.
StereotypesNounOversimplified and generalized beliefs about a groupStereotypes limit individuals’ potential and perpetuate inequality.
Gender normsNoun phraseSocietal expectations regarding behavior and appearance based on genderChallenging traditional gender norms promotes equality.
Gender gapNoun phraseDisparity between men and women in various areasClosing the gender gap requires concerted efforts from society.

3. Immigration and Multicultural Societies

Word/PhraseTypeMeaningExample
ImmigrationNounMigration to a different country for permanent residenceImmigration policies vary widely among countries.
MulticulturalismNounCoexistence of diverse cultural groups within a societyMulticulturalism enriches societies with diverse perspectives.
IntegrationNounInclusion and participation of immigrants into a new societySuccessful integration requires efforts from both immigrants and host communities.
DiversityNounVariety of cultural backgrounds and perspectivesEmbracing diversity strengthens communities and organizations.
Cultural exchangeNoun phraseInteraction and sharing of cultural elements among diverse groupsCultural exchange fosters understanding and appreciation.
AssimilationNounProcess of adopting the customs and values of a new cultureAssimilation can lead to loss of cultural identity for immigrants.
ToleranceNounAcceptance and respect for differing beliefs and practicesTolerance is essential for fostering harmonious relationships.
RefugeeNounPractice including and valuing all individuals and groupsMany refugees face challenges in adapting to new environments.
Ethnic diversityNoun phraseVariety of ethnic groups within a populationEthnic diversity contributes to the richness of multicultural societies.
InclusivityNounThe practice of including and valuing all individuals and groupsInclusivity promotes equality and respect in diverse societies.

Idioms for speaking

These are idioms and phrases that use topic-related figures of speech. They can also be used in different contexts.

IdiomDefinitionExample
Break the (vicious) cycleTo stop a pattern of behavior that is harmful or negative.To respond to kindness by doing something kind for someone else.
Call it quitsTo stop doing something or end a relationship or activity.“After years of disagreement, they decided to call it quits and end their partnership.”
Food for thoughtSomething that makes you think seriously about a particular topic.“The documentary provided plenty of food for thought about the impact of climate change.”
Give a voice to the voicelessTo advocate for or represent the interests of those who are marginalized or oppressed.“The organization aims to give a voice to the voiceless by highlighting their struggles.”
Level the playing fieldTo create equal opportunities for everyone, especially in competition or access to resources.“Education is crucial to level the playing field and give every child a chance to succeed.”
Pay it forwardTo respond to a kindness by doing something kind for someone else.“She decided to pay it forward by volunteering at a homeless shelter after receiving help from others.”
Raise awarenessTo inform and educate people about a particular issue or cause.“The campaign aims to raise awareness about mental health issues in the community.”
See eye to eyeTo agree or have the same opinion as someone else.“Although they have different backgrounds, they see eye to eye on many social issues.”
Stand up forTo support or defend someone or something.“It’s important to stand up for human rights and speak out against injustice.”
Take a standTo make a firm decision or express a strong opinion about something.“In the face of discrimination, she decided to take a stand and fight for equality.”
Turn a blind eyeTo ignore or pretend not to notice something, especially wrongdoing.“Authorities often turn a blind eye to corruption within their ranks.”
Break down barriersTo remove obstacles or prejudices that prevent interaction or understanding between groups.“Cultural exchange programs help break down barriers between different communities.”
Cast a shadow overTo make a situation or mood less cheerful or optimistic.“The recent economic downturn has cast a shadow over the prospects of many families.”
Kick the habitTo stop doing something that is harmful or undesirable.“She decided to kick the habit and quit smoking for the sake of her health.”
Draw a line in the sandTo establish a limit or boundary that should not be crossed.“It’s time to draw a line in the sand and take action against environmental degradation.”
Face the musicTo accept the consequences of one’s actions, especially when they are unpleasant.“After breaking the rules, he knew he had to face the music and accept the punishment.”
Ring alarm bellsTo warn or alert people about potential danger or problems.“The recent increase in pollution levels should ring alarm bells for environmental activists.”
Shed light onTo clarify or provide information about something previously unknown or misunderstood.“The report sheds light on the challenges faced by marginalized communities.”
Turn over a new leafTo start behaving in a better or more positive way; to make a fresh start.“After leaving prison, he was determined to turn over a new leaf and lead a law-abiding life.”
Stand on the shoulders of giantsTo benefit from the achievements or advancements made by those who came before.“Our generation stands on the shoulders of giants who fought for civil rights and equality.”

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Huyen Nguyen
Huyen Nguyen

Founder of Practice9, creator of IELTS with Huyen. Huyen has 10 years of experience with IELTS, overall 8.5.

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