Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

Today is International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022, and the theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.

How does the International Women’s Day theme relate to education? By recognising education’s importance, we acknowledge the contribution of women and girls around the world. These girls become the women leading the charge on adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all. Education comes in different forms. We can educate our women to become teachers, and teachers can guide other women and men. One of the reasons we get a TEFL certificate is because we want to work as English teachers in other countries. As EFL or ESL teachers, we may find ourselves in countries where education is not a fundamental human right. Those who come from families who can spare some money to send their children to school are the lucky ones. Some children end up earning a living at a very early age.

My happiness as an EFL teacher

As an EFL teacher teaching in schools with 50 primary school children, I have found happiness. I found out later on (I keep in touch with the schools!) that some of them went to college and are now teachers themselves. And that, my friends, is true satisfaction.

Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow

Gender and climate change

Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the most significant global challenges of the 21st century. Climate change and sustainability issues will continue to have severe and lasting impacts on our environment’s economic and social development. Women are increasingly being recognised as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men. This is because they constitute the majority of the poor and are more dependent on the natural resources that climate change threatens the most.

How does this relate to TEFL or TESOL?

When we travel to the less touristy countries to see an accurate picture of the country we are visiting, what do we see? Communities with work areas staffed by women. I have found myself in these situations, and I wondered why many women do these menial jobs? At the same time, women and girls are practical and influential leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation. They are involved in sustainability initiatives worldwide, and their participation and leadership result in more effective climate action. Continuing to examine the opportunities and constraints to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in climate change and sustainability decision-making is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable and equal future remains beyond our reach.

Volunteer or work as an English teacher

Different cultures bring knowledge and knowing that you were instrumental in your little way in improving a child’s life will bring you fulfilment and happiness beyond compare. I have taught in Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Laos. The photos I have of the smiling faces of my primary school students fills me with a sense of pride.

We speak about climate change and sustainability initiatives. Significant matters need professionals to address them effectively. Wouldn’t it be great to have one of your students leading projects addressing climate change, sustainability, etc., in their countries and the world?

I’m sure one of my little ones will be up there on that worldwide stage, dealing with these problems – no doubt about that.