Women as Educators in Schools

Education systems place great responsibility on both male and female teachers to educate, train and guarantee the attendance of boys and girls in school. It is therefore important to analyze the female school teachers’ role to determine their influence on the education of girls.
Whatever the percentage of female teachers in a basic education system, it is necessary to value their role as educators, in order to offer them working conditions that lead to the development of girls and the community as a whole. It is a fact that the educational success of girls and boys depends to a great extent on the job satisfaction of teachers, their level of commitment and whether they get the moral and economic recognition they deserve. The development of this section is based on two assumptions:
  • A higher rate of female participation in classroom teaching leads to higher rates of schooling and survival to the 5th grade of primary school, principally of girls.
  • The higher the proportion of rural populations, the lower the rates of access and survival of boys and girls in school.

The Importance of Women as Educators in Schools

Together with students, teachers are a central part of the school system. The efficiency of educational programmes greatly depends on the quality of the teachers. A teacher is not just someone who stands up in front of a group in order to give a lesson; he or she should treat the boys and girls with patience, affection and care, preparing them to work for a decent standard of living, as well as reinforcing social role models that promote gender equality. Due to motherhood, and traditional family responsibilities, women are prepared to relate to children. This is undoubtedly a great advantage that facilitates teaching. However, it is not enough. Professional training is required so that women may perform optimally in education systems. In traditional societies it is also important for female teachers to give parents greater confidence in sending their daughters to school.

Despite the importance of this work, the teaching profession, especially as exercised by women in the first years of education, suffers from low status and low salaries. Mechanisms have to be found which allow the social re-evaluation and strengthening of the teaching profession in basic education, and raise the income of teachers.

Women Career as Educator

“Teaching Career” programme is a system of horizontal promotion that gives teachers the possibility of raising their wages, after enrolling in an evaluation of their performance as teachers and a training process. In this way, teachers do not have to be promoted in the administrative hierarchy or enter higher levels of education in order to advance professionally and obtain a higher income for a decent personal and family life. Female teachers benefit most as they account for the majority in basic education. The number of women teachers is generally higher during the first stages of education. Such participation falls progressively at higher levels.

Unfortunately, in the rural environment many obstacles need to be overcome for female teachers to reach levels of professionalism and recognition. For example, in Pakistan, where most of the population lives in rural areas (66.7 per cent), there are fewer women teachers, as they are unwilling to go to remote places. Furthermore, most untrained female Pakistani teachers are in rural areas (l/4 of the total). The problem is basically cultural. It is not socially accepted that women in rural areas go to work, which keeps female unemployment high. Nevertheless, as in India and Egypt, parents prefer to send their daughters to schools with women teachers. In the remote rural areas, not reached by women teachers, the adverse effects on the educational development of girls are reflected by low school enrolment and high illiteracy rates among women?

Women as Educators in the Community

Women play an important educational role in the community, because they are responsible for educating their children. Women also exercise an influence over the rest of the community in order to guarantee their integrity and development.
A similar process occurs in Pakistani traditional society where religion and ancestral values provide the framework of community life. In Pakistan, a somewhat feudal and tribal structure remains, The culture favours men, their education and their future. In the community, education encourages women to continue to play their role as mothers and wives; however, productive and community work is required from them. Pakistani women are currently assuming an active role as agents of educational development in their communities. This role is multifaceted and varied. Numerous organisations have recently appeared to support the functions of women in communities.



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