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Gender Equality in Education

In discussions about gender equality in education, participants had mixed experiences. Some young women praised forward-looking approaches adopted by their schools; others gave examples of gender bias they had observed or experienced:

“I now know that when I’m in nurseries when I’m teaching, that we just restrict female movement or curiosity or adventure or sense of risk that we really encourage in boys, and I know that my dad, he might not have been the same with brothers, but I knew my limitations before I knew my strength or what I was actually capable of.”

“I think farm colleges are realising how much potential girls have and are totally recognising that and are trying to push them forward. All of my lecturers were excellent; they were excited about girls coming into agriculture. Girls are different and that’s okay, it can be celebrated… mine were certainly great at listening to you and pushing your views and pushing you forward.”

“When I first told the careers officer here that I would like to study film and be a screenwriter and she said ‘you’re thinking a bit high have you thought about nursing or teaching?’ and I told my mum and she said that’s exactly what they told her.”

“He [he was like this substitute RME teacher] made jokes about how women can’t change a light bulb, they should be in the kitchen, and I was like who is this guy??”

“A thing that was quite surprising to me was that we had a female science teacher and she was quite sexist towards women… she was of the view that boys and girls should be taught in different classrooms and in different ways so that the girls didn’t distract the boys! And because girls’ brains were not as good as boys’ apparently, and couldn’t learn as well.”