Empower our young female students to be the person they want to be

It is hard to believe that we are now half way through Term 1. What a busy start to 2018 it has been. It should all get better now as we head into some cooler weather and wave a huge goodbye to the humidity that makes it so difficult to sleep, work and concentrate.

In the business of school and early learning, it is easy for teachers and support staff to neglect the signs that say ‘slow down’. We must take care of ourselves and read the signs that tell us all to take stock of our workload, family and personal interests.

What doesn’t get done today will still be there tomorrow. Some employers are taking the wellbeing of their staff seriously and introducing ‘wellbeing weeks’ for staff to engage in leisure activities, time out, meeting free weeks and so on. Take advantage of these initiatives to help you get through the term.

I recently attended a World Women’s Conference in Morocco and it really makes you realise just how lucky we are to live and teach in Australia. We often complain of conditions and poor wages but when you listen to teachers in other countries, it makes you realise that we are not so badly off after all.

Gender equity was a focus of the conference. We must all empower our young female students to step up to the challenge of being the person they want to be. Millions of girls do not have access to education and while there is a significant majority of female teachers, they are not in leadership positions.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day we must recognise that while women do two thirds of the work in the world, they earn less than 10% of the income. We only have to look at the pay gap between early childhood teachers and primary school teachers – same length of time spent at university, yet they are paid in some cases $30,000 less per year. How can this be? The IEU is working hard to have this inequality resolved. Studies have shown that early education is vital for the educational development of young children, yet the wages do not reflect this.

Projects based on gender equality in our schools and workplaces have to be promoted to bring about social justice. Together we can make changes.

Take care, work together and empower our young students. Enjoy the remainder of the term.

Chris Wilkinson