SEAS successfully moves equitable education motion at Scottish Labour Women’s Conference 2021

Maragret Houston successfull proposes our equitable SEAS motion

Margaret Houston our SEAS delegate successfully proposes our equitable education for girls motion

Conference notes the recommendations and concerns of the United Nations about the lack of an inclusive strategy, financed and time-lined for education and the corresponding failure of Scottish education to make progress with Sustainable Development Goal 4 for high quality inclusive and equitable education.

Sustainable Development Goal 4.5 Gender equality and inclusion in education

In Scotland girls do well in narrow achievement outcomes in secondary schools in most subjects however there are gender disparities in STEM subjects.  Gender stereotyping remains an issue as equality education has not been embedded in Curriculum for Excellence . Girls’ attendance continues to drop in secondary schools.  A more inclusive and equitable education system is necessary for all and further work is needed to narrow instances of gender disparity in our school system.  We believe every learner matters and matters equally.  Conference regrets the joint position of SNP and the Tories in opposing inclusive education in motions in the Scottish Parliament. In addition, Scottish education continues to lack a strategy to embed equality education throughout the education system.  

As part of an inclusive strategy Conference calls on the Scottish Labour Party to increase efforts to promote high quality inclusive and equitable education, to make greater progress to achieve  SDG Target 4.5,  and to work at all levels of the Party to campaign for the elimination of gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities and children in vulnerable situations.  

In speaking today I think we would want to note the achievements of girls through education

Malala from Afghanistan who was shot in the face for wanting to go to school. Greta Thunberg did not go to school but has inspired girls across the globe to challenge climate change and also last month supported the Glasgow bin workers strike. Last year Erin Bleakleyfrom the east end of Glasgow led the demonstrations against Scottish government imposition of the unjust algorithm in the SNP’s exam debacle.

“SEAS also wishes to express our thanks to Monica Lennon’s persistence with her work on the period products in Parliament. Girl students, particularly those affected by poverty, in schools colleges and universities will be well served by her work

Within SDG 4 there are commitments to eliminating gender disparities in education, promoting knowledge and skills for gender equality and ensuring educational facitlies are gender sensitive  providing safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all as well as gender balance in the education workforce. 

In our view there is insufficient attention in Scottish education to ensuring all learners acquire such knowledge and such skills to be able to promote human rights and gender equality. Gender stereotyping from the earliest stages in children’s lives limit their ambitions and horizons.  

These areas should be explicitly included in national education policies, curricula, teacher education, and student assessment. In particular, human rights education provides an important opportunity to include the rights of persons with disabilities. 

SEAS strongly believes more needs to be done to embed equality education throughout the curriculum in our schools from 3-18. Tackling discrimination and negative attitudes can contribute towards end gender discrimination and teach our boys to be more responsible too.