Author: Brittany Roa
Education Thought Leader
The world has drastically changed in the past few decades and continues to do so. As we are in the Digital Revolution, we have never had so much access to information. Technology’s quick advances have made many things possible, including a more inclusive educational system.
Higher education hasn’t always been accessible to everyone. Women and minorities have had to fight for something that was easily given to [white] men. It was an elite privilege to pursue higher education.
In the 1830s, Oberlin College was the first US college to accept female students (and African Americans), becoming the first coeducational college. This was a big leap for women and minorities, however, almost two centuries later, women and African Americans are still fighting for equal rights.
Women in higher education
While there has been great improvement over the past few centuries for women, and more notably, the recent decades, there are still discrepancies in professional equality. Even though women are earning more degrees than men, the number of women in leadership roles is less than men, and even worse, women of color are finding themselves at a greater disadvantage:
“[W]omen hold the least senior administrative positions and are the lowest paid among higher ed administrators. The picture is starker for women of color: in 2016, only 14 percent of higher ed administrators — men and women — were racial or ethnic minorities. Women, and this is especially the case for those of color, are also underrepresented in tenured and full professorships, which in turn limits opportunities to advance into formal leadership positions at colleges and universities.”
If women are not being rewarded for the advancement of their careers and their continued education, even though they’re equally as qualified (if not more), it sends a bad example to young female college students who are looking to become professors. And it also shows that the steady teaching and training at colleges and universities will most likely be led by men.
However, the climate of education is changing and, hopefully, in another decade, women may find professional equality by earning more leadership roles, and more importantly, become leadership role models to young girls.
In order for someone to believe they can accomplish something, they usually need a point of reference or a person of reference to show them that their dream is possible. The more women are securing tenure and other career advancements, the more young girls will believe they can do the same, and more. That’s why it’s essential to teach young girls that they can achieve anything they want—if they work hard enough for it.
Encouraging female students
Thankfully, it is much easier for women to achieve a degree from a college or university than it used to be. While there are still battles to be fought for women in leadership roles, there is much to be said that we are on the right track.
Due to COVID-19 bringing education more online, the opportunities for higher education are becoming more accessible to everyone. We will watch the paradigm of higher education shift over the next few years and hopefully, we will witness women in leadership roles equalize to that of men.
If you’re a teacher in general education, you can take action to be a part of the change. By instilling a joy of learning in female students, their love for knowledge will continue throughout their lives. Encouraging young girls to pursue higher education can help them to believe in themselves and embody their capabilities. The momentum is here, and now we get to use it to propel ourselves and our students forward.
The power of teachers
As a female teacher who has received a masters degree and is considering a doctorate, I am a huge proponent in the power of education. Thankfully, in America, decent education is much easier to acquire than in other countries. But it is the teacher who can change decent education into transformational education.
To be a teacher is to have the ability to shape young minds into future leaders. If we want more women in leadership roles, in higher education or the business force, we must empower them while they are younger. I can still remember my favorite teachers, not the ones who were the easiest on me, but the ones who inspired and encouraged me.
Oftentimes women are bred to feel less than, but now that women are earning more degrees than men and are stepping into their power more, young girls are witnessing women achieve so much more professionally than before. By encouraging young female students to excel, we are setting up their futures as college students and beyond.
The role of a teacher remains one of the most influential and powerful positions in a child’s life, albeit, grossly underpaid. There is a lot of distinction and respect to be given to teachers. By encouraging the male and female students, teachers can shape the future by shaping the future leaders, and what is more important than that?
Foqas is founded, in 2014, with the VISION to help educators experience greater success to have a stronger impact on student achievement. We have three objectives: 1) Build supportive communities for teachers to connect with each other. 2) Promote a culture to share knowledge and experiences with others. 3) Guide teachers to become leaders in their fields of interest.
To learn more about Foqas and how we support teachers: visit www.foqas.org
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