International Women's Day

The Importance of Women in Education

It would be remiss to not spend some time celebrating and acknowledging International Women’s Day, more specifically, in the education sector. Words associated to women, such as, intuitive and nurturing are commonly shared, however, there are so many other traits that women bring forth. Conveying life experience from a different perspective to their male counterparts. By integrating the values of International Women’s Day gives meaning to the tenacity and resilience of women who are influencing and actively moving towards a more equitable society.

The increased challenges in the education landscape over the last 12 months has increased pressures and stresses, and this has reduced the time to consider the achievements and progress which have been realised. Women contribute to 69.5% of the secondary school teaching cohort and 82.4% in primary level education, and that figure is steadily increasing. This shows that women are the majority gender in primary and secondary school teaching roles. Moreover, they are integral to forming the educational cornerstones to which a student’s future is built upon, alongside, encouraging confidence and capability, and providing tools and skills sets. The formative years is where development ensues between nurture and nature. No finer point can be emphasised to how important the work all teachers have been and are currently undertaking. Of course, we should not lose focus that a large proportion of women are the mentors of the next generation of our future workforce.

In recent years, there has been a focus on gender mainstreaming. This may be more relevant to secondary school education, but it is still a consideration throughout a child’s school career. This equality policy looks specifically at gender stereotypes and how they may impact future job opportunities. It is important to look at the proportions of students and the subjects they are selecting and encourage all genders to explore subjects and career paths that have not been traditional of their genders, previously. The impact of the teaching relationship is paramount for this equality policy to embed. Moreover, the disparity of male teaching staff could be addressed with this focus.

Final thoughts: It is important that we never forget the first steps of equality in the emancipation of women. Although, women’s rights have followed a positive trajectory up to this point, it is important that we continue to celebrate and support women but also, not forget that to be equal is not to lessen the rights of others. It is essential, that all within the education community fully support equality endeavours and policy to ensure a fair and just opportunities for young people and their futures. 

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