Empowering women and girls to achieve equality in education was the theme of a major conference organised in London today by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK.
The Education and Gender Equality: Learning Lessons, Moving Forward Conference brought together teachers, school leaders, local authorities and a range of organisations to explore ways of improving equality and social justice for girls and women in education, both in the UK and globally.
The event was chaired by Education International Deputy General Secretary Haldis Holst, and speakers included campaigner Bonnie Greer, Professor Gaby Weiner from the University of Sussex and Manchester Metropolitan University and Professor Averil Macdonald from WISE campaign
The event was supported by Education International, WISE, the PHSE Association, VSO, Lifeworlds Learning, End Violence Against Women, Forward, and A World at School.
At the event, the NASUWT issued a Gender Equality Challenge; a UK-wide initiative which will give schools the opportunity to showcase how they are promoting and demonstrating their commitment to gender equality for their pupils and their workforce.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, who also addressed the Conference, said:
“According to the OECD, the UK system is doing better than many comparable countries in terms of educational participation and attainment of girls. Over the last 30 years, we have seen tremendous achievements in gender equality in the UK education system.
“Yet today in the UK we are seeing a backlash on gender equality, as a result of policy reforms and economic austerity implemented since 2010.
“Too much of the debate today is characterised by promoting quality, whilst being silent on equality, but these are two sides of the same coin. They are not mutually exclusive goals.
“The NASUWT’s Gender Equality Challenge will identify beacons of good practice and give schools the opportunity to be publicly recognised for their efforts on gender quality so they can act as an inspiration for other schools.
“In the run-up to the General Election we will be challenging politicians and political parties to make their commitments to the NASUWT Gender Equality Challenge, by making clear what they will be doing to address the challenges of gender equality through their education, social and economic policies.”
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