Dr. Femi Skanes
The Quest for Equality Continues
In 1971, a day now known as Women’s Equality Day was set aside to commemorate the adoption of the 19th amendment which prohibits the federal or state government from denying anyone the right to vote based on their sex. August 26 is a day that has been designated to remember this important moment in history for women. Women’s Equality Day highlights the inequalities that women have historically faced in the United States while striving to close the gap. In theory, when women gained the right to vote the inequalities that previously existed should have been dismantled. In practice, this is a far cry from the reality that women continue to face even in 2022.
Systems of inequalities are still very much present for women. Why are more than 75% of classroom teachers women while less than 30% of school superintendents are women? What does this suggest about equality for women in education? How can women be equal if they do not hold equal decision making power? What must be done to propel equality for women in education? Women must be at the forefront of this conversation.
Despite the impact of women such as Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Phebe W. Sudlow, and Dr. Janice Jackson have had in the field of education, we are still fighting for equality as educational leaders. As women continue to climb the ranks in education, all too often they are battling to prove themselves. When being considered for high ranking positions, it is not uncommon for people to question their ability to handle the responsibility. This is especially true when women are also mothers. In contrast, it is rare for people to question a man’s ability to serve as educational leaders and fathers. The inequalities are still ever present. This is also highlighted in the disparities in pay that exist between male and female administrators in education.
It is imperative that we move forward with ensuring that equality is a reality for opportunities in educational leadership. As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, we should take the time to explore why women are the foundation of America’s classrooms yet how they continue to be the minority in educational leadership positions. Women in educational leadership positions are making tremendous strides in education but there are still opportunities for continued growth.