International Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating Teach2030 Female Educators Worldwide

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity. International Women’s Day 2023 (internationalwomensday.com)

International Women’s Day is today, 8th March 2023. To mark the day, the Commonwealth Education Trust is elevating the voices of female teachers worldwide in order to to acknowledge, recognise and praise their hard work in challenging circumstances. For several weeks, the campaign was run to ‘send your image’ to Alex, Lead Education and Partnership Consultant, Priya, Education Sustainability Consultant, or Louise, Education and Community Engagement Lead – all incredible women on our fantastic own team! We were delighted by the high number of replies and the reach of Teach2030 to such a variety of countries, including Nigeria, Jamaica, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Fanny, our Malawi Teach2030 Ambassador recognises the importance of International Women’s Day.

In a special way, this day also helps me celebrate other female teachers at my school, who ensure that teaching and learning is sustained at the institution. For instance, out of the five departments at the school four are headed by female teachers: Geography Department, Mrs Kelly Chikaoneka; Language Department, Mrs Loyce Sinoya; Special Education Department, Mrs Eluvy Kazako; and Home Economics Department, Mrs Ruth Ng’oma.’

The fact that 80% of the leadership in her school (Stella Maris Secondary) is female should not be underestimated. These women are key role models for the girls that they teach.

Around the world, 129 million girls are out of school, including 32 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67 million of upper-secondary school age. In countries affected by conflict, girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school than girls living in non-affected countries. UNICEF (2023) https://www.unicef.org/education/girls-education

The World Bank (2023) discusses several main reasons for girls’ education remaining at a lower level than that of their counterparts. There are often preconceived ideas about which subjects girls should be taking, with science and STEM subjects traditionally marketed more for boys. This unconscious gender bias ‘reinforces messages that affect girls’ ambitions, their own perceptions of their roles in society, and produces labor market engagement disparities and occupational segregation.’ It is our responsibility as teachers to ensure we encourage every child to have the ambitions that they desire. The promotion of this inclusive attitude is a key focus for Teach2030 this year.

Lucy Hayter, Director of Generation Global, and one of our key partners, further explains the importance of having exemplary women to look up to. She states that ‘One of my favourite people, activist and poets in life is Maya Angelou. She never ceases to inspire me to enjoy being a woman, to be courageous when you need to be and to live a life that’s true and meaningful to you. I think what her life has also taught me, working in the education sector, how essential it is for women and girls to have role models in their lives – to shine a light on different opportunities you can take in education and work, to give you courage to speak out and make bold decisions about your future and to not be afraid to chart your own path through life.’ 

‘Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.’

Maya Angelou

On this special day, when so many girls worldwide are still fighting to receive equal education, we want to thank all the strong, empowered female teachers stiving to improve the lives of especially the girls they teach. They are an inspiration not only to those within their own communities, but also to us here at the Commonwealth Education Trust.

To help us to provide more quality education to girls worldwide, please email partnerships@commonwealtheducationtrust.org or click to donate.

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