This year the NEU is focusing on the achievements of women in the union and in education. 

As an education union we represent a profession that is dominated by women. The most recent school workforce data shows that 74 per cent of full-time teachers in state schools in England are women.  In primary schools this rises to 85 per cent (63 per cent for secondary schools). It is not an exaggeration to state that our education system would collapse if it weren’t for the work women do every day in schools and colleges to transform the lives of children and young people.

As a sector we also know that educators, including the many women educators, play a huge role in disrupting the patterns of gender inequality through empowering both girls and boys to challenge gender norms, stereotypes and all forms of discrimination. Over the past decade the NEU has supported its members to do this work through resources such as the Breaking the Mould series and our report on sexism and sexual harassment in schools. 

We believe it is vitally important to recognise, value and promote women’s work in a society where women's contributions and expertise is often overlooked, undervalued and ignored. We also want to recognise and champion the importance of education for promoting women’s and girls’ rights. That is why, from 2020, the NEU has established the Annie Higdon Award. This award recognises the important work that education professionals do to challenge sexism and build women’s activity in the union. 

This International Women's Day, let’s celebrate women in the union and in education. Get involved by downloading our free placards and twitter cards here.

Together, let's celebrate women in education and promote women’s and girls’ rights in our schools, our unions and around the world.