Almost forty teachers’ union leaders have assembled in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to participate in a workshop on gender equality. The two-day training, which was held from 28-29 March, was organised by EI’s African Women Education Network (AWEN).
AWEN links five African sub-regional networks, representing 95 unions in 46 countries, with the common goal of promoting full and equal participation of women teachers and girl students, and advancing the empowerment of women.
The DRC’s Deputy Minister of Professional Education, Arthur Sedea Ngamo Zabusu, welcomed participants from EI member organisations in the DRC, including FENECO, SYECO and SCS-Enseignement. He thanked teacher unions for the initiative and pledged the government’s support to develop the political will and commitment to achieve gender equity within the country.
Research figures revealed during the workshop showed that despite women constituting the majority of the teaching workforce in the DRC, men were effectively dominating leadership roles in the decision making structures of unions. The need for increased advocacy to promote gender equality to redress this imbalance and contribute to the achievement of quality education for all was therefore identified as essential.
The training concluded with an action plan for the creation of five new regional networks within the DRC. The purpose of the networks is to enhance women teachers’ awareness of their potential, provide them with knowledge about the role of trade unions and equip them with union leadership skills. It was agreed to develop networking skills training to provide an effective tool to disseminate information on a variety of gender equality issues such as girls’ education; the impact of HIV and AIDS on women; inheritance and family laws; human trafficking, as well as harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, skin bleaching or child marriages.
In addition to the creation of networks, training has been committed to help promote and increase the active participation of women teachers at all levels of trade union activity.