International Women’s Day is just around the corner! We’re taking the opportunity to celebrate our amazing community of women at Pearson. We also want to raise important questions around diversity and inclusion in education.
As educators, it is our responsibility to support our learners and each other in building a world where gender equality is a given. We are very proud of our team members who work tirelessly every day to push progress in their immediate and larger circles.
So, in preparation for International Women’s Day on March 8th, we asked five women in our team to share the causes they care about the most.
Every little gesture matters: #EachforEqual
The campaign theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual. It calls for each and every one of us to recognize that we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions.
Instead of waiting for change to happen, we can all contribute to it by challenging stereotypes. We also need to open our minds to different perspectives and celebrate each other’s achievements.
“As a woman, I feel so responsible for changing people’s minds, behaviors and attitudes towards equality. But I know I am not alone, as we are all responsible for breaking down barriers and making the world more equal,” says Gloria Vivanco, Marketing Manager Southern Mediterranean at Pearson.
“Everyone and every little gesture counts. When we raise our children at home, when we educate our youngsters at school, when we set up a task or a salary in our place of work, when governments rule and legislate; that’s when we can create a gender-equal world. Let’s all be #EachforEqual,” she adds.
Eliminating gender bias in education products
Fighting for equality in our personal lives, at our jobs and in our classrooms is not enough. We also need to be aware that the education products we develop have an impact on the learning experience of students all around the world.
“I, alongside so many of my colleagues at Pearson, am committed to making sure that all of the learners we support, regardless of their gender, feel included, valued, and fairly represented,” says Rebecca Spanos, Director of Efficacy and Research at Pearson.
Rebecca’s mission is to establish standards that guarantee a diversity-forward approach in everything we do. Her aim is to provide meaningful learning experiences for everyone.
“I’ve been working with two incredible colleagues, Muireann Kelly and Michelle Hessels, to create Pearson’s gender guidelines. which will sit alongside Pearson’s global editorial policy. The guidelines will be launched in March 2020 after being approved by The Fawcett Society. Their number one aim is to help editorial teams across the company reduce gender bias and stereotyping in all of our products, services, and communications,” she says.
Closing the gender gap in employment
Did you know that the global labor force participation rate is 49% for women and 75% for men? Generally speaking, women who want to work have a harder time finding a job than men. This has to stop.
“I am personally and professionally committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, including helping women progress their careers,” says Sally Johnson, Deputy CFO at Pearson.
“As part of the Pearson team, I also want to help underserved learners access learning and employability opportunities,” she adds.
The freedom to work is something that everyone should be granted equally. What’s more, closing the gender gap in employment could increase the GDPs of many countries around the world. We are committed to doing our part in achieving this.
Gender equality in sanitation and hygiene
“Women today owe so much to our mothers and aunts and grandmothers, and to the wonderful men who supported them. The educational opportunities that we have before us are unprecedented in history. International Women’s Day is a day for joyful celebration of how far we have come. But education remains underfunded,” says Clare Walsh, EFL Teacher and Author at Pearson.
She raises an important issue.
“In some of our poorest areas of the world, there are no toilet facilities in schools. For boys, it’s an inconvenience. For girls, the first day of their period often marks the end of their access to formal education. Without access to safe, sanitary hygiene facilities, girls can face discrimination and stigma. According to UNESCO, of the 131 million girls around the world who are out of school, over 100 million have passed the age puberty,” she says.
It’s essential that we all become aware of how the lack of sanitation and hygiene affects women disproportionately. And must do our best to combat this problem.
“On International Women’s Day, we are women united across the globe. This is a difficult issue, but it’s our issue to resolve. I’ll be working to end this,” Clare adds.
Happy International Women’s Day
“I love everything about being part of our worldwide network of women in ELT. I love that we freely share ideas for stories, craft, lesson plans, games, and activities. And I love that our common goal is to help our children to climb up high and to be there to catch them if they fall,” says Jeanne Perrett, Pearson author.
Happy International Women’s Day to all the amazing women out there! Let us know what you’re doing to celebrate in the comments.
You may also like these International Women’s Day resources: Two downloadable lesson plans to celebrate International Women’s Day