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Article 03/03/2023

Focusing on equity in leadership and careers aspiration on International Women’s Day

To mark International Women’s Day 2023 and to chime with the theme of #EmbraceEquity, we’re highlighting our evidence-based research into girls’ education and teacher development that helps communities take practical steps towards gender equity in leadership roles and careers.

Our commentary piece, Women in Education Leadership, explores the positive impact for both girls’ and boys’ educational outcomes in schools led by women, in countries including Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. It considers the barriers to female leadership in education and the EDT programmes that are starting to make a change, empowering more women into senior roles.

“Girls felt that female school leaders empower girls, support their self-confidence and build aspiration.”

Supporting more women’s journeys into education leadership is one element of our holistic approach to empowering girls through quality teaching and learning. EDT programmes in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia are enabling more women to enter leadership roles.

Our work in careers education helps to bridge the gap between school and higher education, employment and training and enables children to explore their own perceptions of gender-based roles and careers. We elaborate on this in Careers education and guidance to prepare girls for the future of work.

In the UK, our North East Ambition pilot in 70 primary schools explored how schools can develop an age-appropriate career and personal development programme.

These schools made significant progress in tackling gender stereotypes and implementing the relevant Gatsby Framework benchmarks:

  • 59% of schools fully met benchmark 2, to use labour market information to tackle stereotypical thinking and raise aspirations (up from 1% at baseline in July 2019).
  • 81% of schools fully met benchmark 3, that the careers and personal development programme actively seeks to address stereotypical thinking, (up from 6% at baseline).

In Jordan, a pilot careers education programme called ‘Future Ready’ has made positive steps in challenging gender stereotyped assumptions among young people and creating more inclusive attitudes. The programme worked with students, their families, teachers and local employers. After their experiences on the programme,

  • 78% of students changed their perceptions about what jobs were appropriate for men and women.
  • 39% of male students said they are now considering working in a female-dominated sector.
  • 46% of female students said that they are now considering working in a male-dominated sector.