Last month I focused on EARLY YEARS, going from the unpaid childcare women overwhelming provide, through to how early children’s dreams are snuffed out and ending with the correlation between rigid gendered beliefs and coercive or violent behaviour in young men.
The more you read in this area, the clearer it becomes just how socialised so much of gender is. Wherever you look there are ways in which we’re held back from living the lives we want to, because gender gets in the way. Whether that’s women earning a third less over their lifetime, or men prevented from spending time with their children, most of us suffer entirely avoidable outcomes as a result of the assumptions we make about men’s and women’s roles in this world.
Men make up just 2% of pre-primary school teachers, while women provide three times the amount of unpaid childcare – showing children from a very early age where men and women belong. And though the numbers for men in teaching do increase as you go further up the age bracket, power remains concentrated in men’s hands “in all state funded primary and nursery schools, 14% of all teachers are men, but 27% of head teachers are men. In secondary schools, 36% of teachers are men, yet 62% of head teachers are men.” ** In a sphere so entirely dominated by women employees it’s incredible to see men dominate leadership positions in such large numbers. Of the 181 schools who reported their pay gap data last year, only 11 paid women more than men.
It’s hard to imagine radical change is possible in an environment that so stifles human beings when they’re at their most imaginative and curious – but how can we expect strong change in education and in the minds of our young people when they’re taught by people living and breathing gendered inequality of the kind we see so regularly in schools?
And for those who believe that change is coming quickly enough (or that radical change isn’t needed), I’d remind you of the 202 years it’s going to take to achieve economic parity worldwide, that ‘more than half of the 100 biggest gender pay gaps are in schools’ ^ and that 1,800 sexual offences (including 200 rapes) occur in schools every year. ^^
It’s in our power to change this – beginning with knowledge and ending with action.
November – EDUCATION
Week 35 – There are only 25 black female professors working in the UK
Week 36 – Women account for more than half of all STEM postgraduates
Week 37 – Educated women still earn a third less than less educated men
* OECD Education at a Glance 2018 OECD Indicators 2018
** NEU Gender pay gap 20 December 2018
*** Branwen Jeffrys in the BBC Why do schools have a massive pay gap? 2100 March 2018
^ Helen Ward for TES News Investigation: More than half of 100 biggest gender pay gaps are in schools 30 March 2018
^^ The Women and Equalities Committee Sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools
Will Hazell for TES News Pay gap means women in education ‘work free 95 days a year‘ 6 March 2019
End Violence Against Women #MeToo at School
Edward Thicknesse in City AM Gender pay gap: UK women earn £263,000 less than men over working life 29 October 2019