To mark International Women’s Day 2017, we asked our members "How do we Get It Right for Girls?”, and we received many suggestions, which are outlined below. Some learners also fed in their views.

The theme of International Women’s Day in 2017 is #BeBoldForChange, a theme predicated on the idea that each one of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence, by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.  

By asking teachers what changes they wish to see to advance gender equality in educational establishments and in society, we identified five key areas for development. Members’ (and learners’) comments and suggestions were many and varied, but there were five recurring themes.  


The need to hold regular, open discussion and encourage critical thinking

"Get pupils to ask ‘why?’ all the time” 

"Discuss gender issues in social studies/citizenship”

"Keep talking about it” 

"Keep raising awareness (teacher and pupil)” 

"Opportunities for students and staff to learn about gender equality through lessons (cross-curriculum) and CPD/INSET.” 


The importance of tackling stereotypes and outdated gender roles

"In some sports, girls can’t play in mixed teams once they’re at High School – this is wrong.  Teams should be picked by ability, not by gender.”  (Niamh, age 9) 

"Having female STEM ambassadors can help promote the uptake of STEM subjects in school”

"Explore why the woman so often becomes the main carer at home”

"Continue to showcase both male and female role models in career/subject pathways and STEM subjects in particular”

"More emphasis on boys participating in stereotypically ‘female’ pursuits”

"More male teachers”  

"Teachers themselves showing a genuine interest in subjects traditionally associated with the opposite gender” 

Use resources which tackle gender issues, e.g. books such as ‘Tango Makes Three’, ‘King and King’, ‘The Paper Bag Princess’

"Focus on building self-confidence and resilience in girls”

"Use sport to encourage girls to look at all sport, football, swimming, running, fencing, archery, walking, anything at all.  There should be no distinction (but then boys should learn netball too!)”

"Encourage girls to lead teams in sport to encourage leadership skills”

"Girls should be allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms and keep covered up if this helps – don’t make them wear short skirts or skimpy/tight fitting clothes – it is good to get hot and sweaty.”


Societal issues about pay, childcare, media repreparations and laws

"Give equal pay in all jobs”

"Tackle irresponsible media representations of women and girls”

"We need more women as leaders to encourage girls to get to the top.”  (Matthew, age 9)

"Childcare options for staff”

"Close the pay gap by providing options for women”

"Laws e.g. preventing women being pressured into wearing make-up and heels”

"50:50 opportunities”


The need to celebrate women’s contributions

"Why don’t we see more paintings in galleries by famous women? If we only see famous paintings by men, girls will think they can’t become artists.”  (Freya, age 9) 

"Increased focus and celebration of any famous/successful women in a range of fields/professions – science – arts, now and in history”

"Campaigns to force TV companies to have to match coverage of men’s football with coverage of women’s football, for example.”


The importance of a supportive environment/workplace

"Vehicles such as the Rights Respecting School initiative [can] ensure schools have the right climate and approach to these types of issues”

"Teachers’ attitude and views need to be positive”

"Language and examples used in class should be neutral to ensure all pupils are engaged”

"Women should not feel or be disadvantaged regarding opportunities in the workplace”

"Together, ensuring that misogynistic comments and terms, on a fundamental level, remain to be deemed unacceptable”


What will you do to #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day? 


We would love to hear about members’ initiatives to promote gender equality within education. Please share any good practice from your area with Jenny Kemp, National Officer, Education and Equality (

For more information about EIS resources on tackling misogynistic attitudes see:

For guidance on Challenging Sexism, see:

For other gender equality policies and publications, see: