A package of measures to promote gender equality issues in the education system in Scotland

External practice
Get It Right For Girls report
Get It Right For Girls report




- Government - Employers - Civil society

Reason it was developed

The union covers the education sector for children aged 3 to 18. In this education sector, there is no performance related pay and all teachers are paid the same. However, the status and perception of what education sector jobs are valuable and carry greater status differ. Politically within the union, there has been an impetus to address the low status of early school education, whose teacher workforce is almost exclusively female. This is especially important as the sector has been decimated, with a 40% reduction in the number of qualified nursery teachers in the early years education sector in the last 10 years.


The union has been undertaking several activities to promote gender equality agenda in the education sector: • Lobbying for taking a long-term approach through the inclusion of equality-focused curricular content in schools and approaches aimed at greater challenge of gender stereotyping. • Lobbying for a stronger focus on gender equality issues in the initial teacher training programmes. Currently, there is no systematic approach and the inclusion of gender issues into the ITI depends on ad-hoc approaches and individual preferences. The union has been discussing with education institutions the need for more coherence and consistency of content on equality, including gender equality, within ITE programmes; has sought to influence the development of the teacher professional standards and of the General Teaching Council’s ITE accreditation mechanisms, so that they have a much sharper focus on equality issues. • The union has a network of regional Equality Representatives which advises members and works in collaboration with employers around equal opportunities issues in the curricula or otherwise. • The union has commissioned independent research related to Nursery education and to Additional Support Needs provision- both areas in which female teachers are the majority and in which teacher numbers have been reducing significantly as a result of austerity. • The union has brought gender equality issues to the fore in various parliamentary inquiries, government consultations and press statements. • The union’s recent pay campaigning included an article in our journal comparing the relatively low pay of teachers (77% women) in Scotland to that of other professions requiring similar levels of qualification but which were dominated by men and are higher paid. • Delivery of professional learning for union members on leadership, challenging stereotypical notions and outlining alternative models of leadership. The participation of female members in this training has been specifically sought. • Bespoke leadership training for women interested in securing promoted posts has also been provided for female members by the union.


The various activities have brought gender equality issues much more to the focus of the union’s work and encouraged and supported female members and women teachers in the education sector.


Union internal funding Scottish Union Learning Fund (Scottish Government supplied).


United Kingdom
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