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Apr 14, 2003

Study: Bz’s women discriminated against in schools

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There’s a popular saying in the academic community that goes, “if you educate a woman you educate an entire nation.” According to the experts, seventy percent of those charged with the task of developing the minds of Belize’s youngest citizens are women…yet there has always been the perception that female teachers do not get the same treatment as their male counterparts…and now there is scientific evidence to prove it. Today, the Women’s Issues Network, an umbrella organization of agencies working for the improvement of social and economic opportunities for women and their families, released the findings of a recent study on discriminatory behaviours and practices within the education system. The study, carried out by Sandra Jones, gathered information from school authorities regarding issues that adversely affect the advancement and livelihood of teachers and their students. According to Jones, while there have been significant technological advances, little has been done to protect women from discrimination, especially in education.

Sandra Jones, Author, Discriminatory Practices Study

“The unwritten policy as it relates to teachers, basically does not apply…what applies to the female teachers does not apply to males. A male teacher for instance could have a child out of wedlock and it either goes unnoticed and the same implication does not apply to him. And then in terms of the teenagers within the high schools there are some polices too in which the young man if he is in high school is asked to actually to do some king of community service, working in day care and different things that the school may ask him to actually do. But at the end of the day what he has to do is not equal what the woman would have to go through, because for most instance a young woman would be asked drop out of school as soon she realize that she is pregnant. And later on, I think its approximately a year later, she has to apply for readmission to school and her admission is based on different issues.”

The study was conducted over a five-month period in 2001. Commissioned by the Women’s Department, the project was funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. This afternoon, the first copy of the report was presented to Ambassador and Special Envoy for Children, Gender Affairs and HIV, Dolores Balderamos Garcia.

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