NASUWT calls for education justice for women and girls

To mark World Teachers’ Day the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has today launched a Declaration of Intent, calling on governments in the UK and worldwide to end the gender discrimination and inequality in education which prevents millions of women and girls from going to school.

The stark reality is that in the 21st Century, still two thirds of the almost 800 million illiterate people in the world today are women, and 32 million girls worldwide have no access to schooling. This has a direct impact on the availability of teaching staff, with experts warning of an acute global shortage of teachers.

The NASUWT’s ‘Global Equality in Education for Women and Girls’ Declaration is supported by a range of organisations including the TUC, the Education International Unite for Quality Education campaign and End Violence Against Women.

The Declaration calls for:

Universal and free primary and secondary education for girls;
sex and relationships education as an entitlement for all children, which should contribute to tackling the ongoing problem of violence against women and girls;
urgent action to ensure girls’ access to education free from violence, intimidation and sexual abuse;
decent working conditions for teachers at work and equal rights in quality public services;
investment in education, not cuts and austerity;
positive action to increase the representation of women in leadership roles;
action to end child labour.
The Declaration was officially launched at the NASUWT’s annual Women’s Consultation Conference in Birmingham; the largest gathering of female teachers in the country.

Participants wholeheartedly supported the initiative. A real-time poll conducted at the conference revealed that 41% had experienced discrimination on the basis of their gender in the workplace. And 90% said they had experienced bullying or harassment in their careers.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“It’s a scandal that despite a wealth of international agreements, women and girls continue to be denied access to quality education and decent life chances as a result of gender discrimination, intimidation and violence.

“We believe that it is time for concerted action by governments in the UK and around the world to invest in public education and the teaching workforce. They have to face up to their responsibilities to tackle one of the greatest human rights challenges the world faces today.”

“The poll results today demonstrate that there is a significant challenge to tackle discrimination faced by women teachers in the UK. The Government must show strong leadership on this issue.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Other results from the poll included:

93% thought that the Government does not respect and value teachers;
99% thought the Government does not understands the day to day realities of teaching in the classroom;
Excessive workload was cited as the main concern in the workplace;
The overwhelming majority felt that the Government’s policies were bad for teachers.