International Women’s Day – The teachers making a difference at Bridge Andhra Pradesh

Every year on March 8th, people around the world celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and girls. International Women’s Day for 2022 holds extra importance this year as it is the first to be observed since schools returned from 2 years of lockdown. With many young girls missing out on large parts of their education, it is important to highlight the importance of women in the global workforce and the necessity of getting a quality education. Women can also play an inspirational role with female leadership encouraging girls and playing a vital part in recovering learning losses.

During the pandemic 767 million girls were out of school at the peak of lockdown. UNESCO estimates that around 11 million girls will drop out of education entirely. This is largely due to harmful gender-norms in society that hold young girls back from gaining an education. These barriers to education for young girls include: teen pregnancy, child-care commitments, helping the family around the household, and even child labour. At Bridge we aim to break the biases that prevent girls from learning, challenge inequality, question stereotypes, and help create an inclusive world.

One way Bridge breaks biases is through gender-sensitive classroom materials. Artwork and stories in textbooks ensure equal visibility of male and female characters, particularly representing female characters in leading or unconventional roles, which can inspire young girls to have greater education aspirations such as becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Gender equality is also encouraged in classroom management with girls given school leadership roles through appointments of Head Girls and Prefects. It is important for female pupils at Bridge to feel like they are able to achieve anything if they set their minds to it, and that there are no barriers to success too large to overcome.

We believe that females are also powerful role models in the communities they serve. Our wonderful Bridge teachers are the first role models many girls will have in their professional lives. It is important that women are represented in the classroom and on school boards to give further encouragement to students. Teachers at Bridge receive specific gender-based training in order to encourage class participation from female pupils. Teachers are trained to call on both boys and girls in the classroom, as fewer girls than boys usually tend to volunteer in class. Teachers are trained to practice more cold calling to ensure equal participation and boost confidence in girls.

Bridge teachers are committed to ensuring all pupils, no matter their gender, receive the best education possible and are set-up for a promising future. Pavani, a teacher at Bhimadole School, says “I love to help the pupils and prepare the pupils in their goal,” whilst Shammu, a teacher at Telaprolu school, says

“female pupils cannot stop at anything. They can grow their life as they want. They should not stop for anyone.”

With the encouragement and inspiration from their teachers the young girls at Bridge schools can develop freely without bias and become the best they can be. Nageena, a teacher at Telaprolu School, hopes all female pupils will grow-up with a high quality education without fear from biases. She tells them: “Don’t be afraid and be unique.”

Women at Bridge are leaders in their communities and inspire the younger generation every day. We celebrate all the female leaders at Bridge, who work tirelessly to support thousands of girls to become confident, empowered young women through life changing education.

This day is an opportunity to #BreakTheBias and promote full and equal access to all opportunities for women and young girls. At Bridge, we believe that an excellent educational foundation sets our young girls on a path to future success.