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Benefits of gender equality in education

As we address the benefits of gender equality in education with educators and primary school teachers and discuss the obstacles, we realize that gender stereotypes are demonstrated day by day for our children by the very way women and men are represented in the education system.

In Romania, 75% of education staff is female and the greatest gap is found in pre-school and primary education where there are hardly any men involved: under 1% male staff in pre-school and under 10% male staff in primary education, according to data published by Ministry of Education. It is not only the case of Romania: at European level, in pre-school education, 4,9% of staff are men. The opposite type of imbalance is among STEM teaching staff, where we continue to find few female teachers (Caprile M. et al 2015). Gender segregation in education is a persistent challenge, one that causes serious stagnation of gender equality in the realm of learning. An indicator used by EIGE is the number of students that choose a profile of study related to arts and humanities – where the future education labour force is trained: the gap recorded in Romania is 30% female students versus 17% male students in humanities.

Despite having an overwhelming number of women in the education system, when speaking about leadership positions, we still encounter teachers and educators that feel that in their sector it is normal for men to occupy leadership positions, as “men are better decision makers”. Most of the general school inspectors around the country continue to be men. The glass ceiling effect that prevents women from accessing decision making is therefore present even in a sector that is overwhelmingly female.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in helping students overcome the limitation of gender stereotypes comes from the fact that practice often contradicts the message for equality in the school setting. So a fundamental question remains: how do we work with education staff to make schools welcome equality as a daily reality, not just a school-text lesson?

Here is one of our previous analysis of gender stereotypes in Romania: https://aleg-romania.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Diagnostic-Report-Research-Romania_ALEG.pdf