ATA committee is working diligently to promote and enhance gender equality
In 2018 the Diversity, Equity and Human Rights (DEHR) Committee struck a Women in Leadership subcommittee with a mandate to examine the experiences and obstacles affecting women in educational leadership. The subcommittee was the first Association group to administer a needs assessment survey to examine teachers’ perception of gender discrimination, barriers to leadership that women face and the supports that the Association could provide to assist women who aspire to leadership positions.
At the 2019 Annual Representative Assembly, delegates accepted a resolution that the Association form a standing committee on women in leadership. The committee’s mandate includes reviewing ATA structures and practices to identify opportunities to promote and enhance gender equality and women’s participation in all aspects of employment and Association life.
There are three main ways the Women in Leadership Committee accomplishes its mandate: through policy recommendations, the organization of an annual summit and research on the career progression of women in educational leadership.
As well as the provincial Women in Leadership Committee, there are now 10 ATA locals with their own women in leadership committees. The development of these local committees is sparking interest in leadership equity issues at a grassroots level.
If your local is interested in forming a women in leadership committee, information about how to get started is available on the ATA’s Women in Leadership website: http://wil.teachers.ab.ca.
The Women in Leadership Summit is taking place on March 6. The theme is Resilience in Education: Bouncing Back From Adversity. The one-day event will feature keynote speakers Marni Panas and Sandra Woitas. Participants will also choose between 10 speakers/subjects for three breakout sessions.
Topics will include
- Diversity and inclusion
- Advancing Indigenous women
- Financial wellness
- Building trust
- Using hope to build resilience
- Change leadership
To lead up to the summit, the committee hosted a speaker series featuring three prominent women.
Right Honourable Kim Campbell
The Importance of Women in Politics
Compassion Fatigue, Emotional Labour and Educator Burnout: Research Study
A Synergistic Approach to Gender and Race Equality
Videos of the speaker sessions are available for viewing for a limited time at https://wil.teachers.ab.ca.
International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
Marked annually on March 8, International Women’s Day is one of the most important days of the year to
- celebrate women’s achievements,
- raise awareness about women’s equality,
- lobby for accelerated gender parity and
- fundraise for female-focused charities.
The Women in Leadership Committee has engaged in several research projects dating back to 2019, when it existed as a subcommittee of the Diversity, Equity and Human Rights Committee. At that time the subcommittee conducted an online needs assessment survey of Association members to ascertain their perceptions of gender, career advancement and opportunity.
The resulting report combines the findings of the survey results with information learned in the field of educational leadership literature and leadership literature. The Association offers a presentation derived from this report. Anyone who’s interested in hosting this presentation can contact Lisa Everitt at email@example.com.
More recently, the Women in Leadership Committee completed a literature review on maternity leave and career progression. This report is in the process of being compiled and will be available late in the 2020/21 school year.
The committee has also applied for a partnership development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council with the aim of conducting a three-year project on the intersection of gender and leadership. The main partners are envisioned to be the ATA, the College of Alberta School Superintendents and the University of Alberta. The project is slated to start in July should the grant be approved.
A third research study is in the works: COVID-19 Caregiving and Careers of Alberta Teachers and School Leaders: A Qualitative Study—Research Project. The committee is in the process of establishing focus groups and interviews to find out more about how COVID-19 and caregiving are impacting female teachers and school leaders. In addition to focus groups being held at this year’s Women in Leadership Summit, two other focus groups will be held on March 8 and 10. The March 8 session will be specifically for female school leaders, and the March 10 session will be specifically for racialized teachers who are female. If you are interested in participating in either focus group session, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. ❚