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Friday Insights Round-Up (8 Mar)

8 March 2019: posted by BigChange

Caitlin Ross, Big Change Impact Manager
Caitlin Ross, Big Change Impact Manager

This week’s Friday insights round-up falls on International Women’s Day, so Impact Manager Caitlin is talking the gender pay gap for teachers, and a pilot aiding black mothers in poverty in Mississippi. Make sure you also read our blog on some of the women who have founded or run the project partners we support.

Caitlin also cites advice from Andreas Schleicher to keep teachers thriving, and there’s an exciting project gearing up to launch art by young people into space!

The Gender Pay Gap for Teachers

It seems fitting on International Womens’ Day to address the gender pay gay in the education sector. Did you know that the gap means that women teachers essentially work 95 days of the year for free?

Education has one of the worst gender pay gaps in the labour market, with median hourly pay for women teachers at a staggering 25.9% less than that of men in the same roles. This is a problem UK-wide, not just in education. Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The UK still has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Women effectively work for free for two months of the year – and, at current rates of progress, it’ll take another 60 years for this gap to close”.

Let’s reflect this International Women’s Day on the systemic conditions that bring this about – including unpaid labour in the home, unequal parental leave, inequity in early years and early development provision, lack of flexible working – to name just a few. As individuals and organisations we must work to make sure that we are part of the solution, not the problem.

Inspiration from Mississippi

While we have solutions on the brain, we’re inspired by the city of Jackson, Mississippi which is piloting an interesting approach to levelling the playing field for black mothers, who are disproportionately likely to live in poverty. A new year-long basic income pilot launching in December in Jackson, Mississippi, aims to address the wealth disparities around race, gender, and motherhood by equipping black mothers with $1,000 (£764) a month.

The pilot, called Magnolia Mother’s Trust, will launch with 15 women receiving the stipend. The pilot is premised on the principles of basic income, which hypothesise that providing marginalised populations with enough capital to bring them above the poverty line will create benefits for both the recipients of the cash, but also for their larger communities. In working specifically with black mothers, Magnolia Mother’s Trust looks to address the systemic and deeply entrenched poverty of communities in Jackson. We look forward to learning more as this project progresses.

Teachers Thriving

Friend of Big Change and OECD director of education, Andreas Schleicher, had some recommendations for the UK last week in terms of how we make the best use of our academy system. He suggests to make sure they embody the culture that allows teachers and leaders to share ideas and become system leaders.

Our own experience funding projects working to support teachers to thrive, has shown us that culture and leadership conditions in schools have a potential for big impact on teacher recruitment, retention and wellbeing – and ultimately have the potential to bring about better outcomes for young people.

We’ll work with our project partners to better understand the conditions that need to be in place within schools that allow teachers and school leaders to be agents of change for young people.

Art in Space

Lastly this week, one for the art lovers. Have you ever thought about launching art into space? Check out US indie band OK Go have the project for you they’re working with the Playful Learning Lab to invite young people to propose art experiments that can be launched into space. The project is designed to bring a fun, exuberant approach to physics to the classroom – we can’t wait to see what the winning experiment is.

friday insights space art