We live in a time where stubborn gender leadership gap widens, vividly the number of women in school leadership positions continues to lag behind that of males.
Almost eight out of ten teachers in primary schools are female. But as you move up in the school leadership positions, there are considerably fewer women.
For example, Rwanda Basic Education Board (REB) 2016 reports indicated that there are 3 female head teachers for every ten schools, and the trend is the same in secondary schools.
In order to fully equalize these figures, young women must be resolute and confident in their leadership potential and struggle, according to female headteachers.
They made the observation during KT radio’s program that aimed at discussing gender inequalities among school leadership in Rwanda, and possible implications of the gap on the quality of education.
Last week, KT radio’s Ines Nyinawumuntu hosted female headteachers and teachers from various schools to discuss the causes and the way forward.
Sponsored by Mastercard Foundation, the talk show also aimed at discussing challenges female teachers and headteachers meet in their daily work and why the percentage of headteachers is significantly lower than that of men.
“It all starts from the recruitment which is always open to everyone. But when you look at the number of women that apply for jobs compared to men, it is always lower in private schools. I think women should raise their confidence to compete on teaching, but also leadership positions,” Celine Uwituje, Director of Studies at Kigali Christian School said.
“In lower primary schools, there are many female teachers compared to their male counterparts. When it goes up to upper primary and secondary schools, the trend is reversed. For example, when I went for a job interview, there were only two women applicants against thirty men. It all starts from confidence, and by the way, when it comes to work female teachers perform better.”
According to REB reports, female teachers are fewer in positions including headteachers, deputy headteachers, director of studies, and disciplinary.
Are females losing opportunities?
Besides salary gains, school leaders have benefits that women cannot afford to lose. They include improving leadership skills, learning and reasoning, self-awareness and development, and interpersonal interactions.
Leadership also improves civic responsibility, communication, strategic planning and working to change personal behaviors.
“Let us use facts from our society that we live in. When a female worker is given a role to perform, they do them effectively, they deliver to the expectation. But the stereotype we grow in of fearing to compete with men is still a problem. These stereotypes are reducing, but still there,” Pauline Mukankwiro, a teacher at GS Rusisiro said.
“Women don’t need a favor; they need a competitive mindset and courage to do things. When you are confident, you do great things effectively.”
Considering a new salary structure from Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA), a fresh headteacher or Grade2 (1-3 years’ experience) with Bachelor’s degree earns a net salary of Rwf314,450, also known as take home.
A fresh, or Grade2 Director of Studies (DOS) and disciplinary teacher with Bachelor’s degree earns Rwf306,990 take home for those with Grade3(4-6 years’ experience).
For DOS and disciplinary teachers with Grade 5(10-12 years’ experience), he/she earns a net salary of Rwf323,742 and those with 42 years’ experience will be earning a net salary of Rwf747,083.
“I’ve never felt less than a man in my role as head of school. Because I carry out my responsibilities as a headmaster, the men on my team pay attention to and respect me as their leader,” Rose de Viterbe Umuhuza, head teacher, Cyanika Technical Secondary School said.