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International Women’s Day 2022: Education and career trends

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’re discussing the latest education and career trends for women, including data from our upcoming Future of Learning Report 2022.

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At FutureLearn, we’re committed to creating a world where women enjoy just as many opportunities as men. While our main focus is on providing career and education prospects, we also take pride in educating our learners about the positive impact of women’s work and the perception of gender in society. 

From how women use art for social justice to the importance of diverse gender representation in the media, we’re proud to create courses that support gender equality. We also feel honoured to host a platform that enables our educators to share their valuable knowledge with learners all over the world.

Next week, our Future of Learning Report 2022 will be released, in which we’ll be exploring the key trends shaping education today and in the future. We hope that it’ll shine even more light on women’s perspectives on learning, the workplace, and education – so keep your eyes peeled for March 16th!

What is the International Women’s Day theme in 2022?

The theme this year is #BreakTheBias, encouraging us to imagine a gender-equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. While it may sometimes appear that women are afforded equal rights, deliberate and unconscious bias often makes it difficult for women to receive the same kind of opportunities and respect as men. 

Education is an excellent tool for breaking biases, whether that’s in communities, workplaces, schools or universities. Often, our biases are influenced by external factors in our lives, such as media portrayals and cultural conditioning. However, education can be used to combat bias and challenge ignorance by revealing the truth – through data sets, individual testimonies, video evidence, and more.

What is gender bias?

The definition of gender bias is when one gender is favoured over the other, but the term is most commonly used to describe when men are favoured over women. It is worth noting that these biases are usually based on socially constructed roles and expectations that are placed on genders. 

A common example of gender bias is when you assume someone’s gender based on their occupation – people may assume that a doctor is a man and a nurse is a woman, for instance. Moving into the workplace, some frequent gender biases include unequal pay, uneven distribution of responsibilities, and different interview questions based on gender. 

You can learn more about the barriers women face in the workplace in our open step by the University of Exeter.

Education and career trends for women in 2022

So how do we break the bias for women in the workplace and education? One of the most important things we can do is listen to what women want and need in the current learning landscape. We did some research into education trends in our Future of Learning Report 2022, launching on March 16th. 

In the report, we look at the rise of online learning, the impact of the pandemic on education, career switching, and more. We also found some important insights into what women are looking for in their futures regarding work and education. 

Women want more workplace mental health training

We discovered that women want a much higher emphasis placed on mental health in the workplace and in educational institutions. When asked which subject they most would like to be added to the national curriculum, women most commonly gave mental health as the answer, in contrast to men’s most common answer of finance.

“Women believe in mental health (50% vs 40%) and equality training (41% vs 32%) in the workplace more than men”

Women believe that mental health awareness training is the most important kind of training that people of all positions should receive at work. They also believe that leadership teams at work should be given ongoing mental health awareness training.

Delving deeper into that statistic, we found that more women than men believe that mental health and equality training should be provided in the workplace. While 50% of women and 40% of men want their CEOs and leaders to be trained in mental health, 41% of women compared to 32% of men would like them to have equality training.

Women believe age doesn’t limit learning or career potential

Our insights also suggest that women have a more positive outlook when it comes to the impact of ageing on career trajectories. While 39.10% of women believe you can change career at any age, only 28.85% of men share the same sentiment. 

“Women are more open to careers at any age, compared to men”

We found that 39% of women compared to 29% of men think you can be successful at any age, and 32% of women compared to 21% of men believe you can learn something new at any age.

How can workplaces and educational institutions support women?

It’s clear that there’s room for improvement when it comes to supporting women in education and at work. The most important thing businesses and institutions can do is to educate themselves so that they’re able to offer equal treatment and opportunities to all genders. But how can they do that? We’ve got some tips below.

You can support women in education and the workplace by:

Final thoughts

This year, for International Women’s Day, think about what you can do in your workplace or educational institution to support women and eradicate gender bias. Maybe you can try to confront your own biases and educate yourself about them, or talk to someone at work about inclusivity and diversity. 

To discover even more about what women think about future career and education trends, make sure to read our Future of Learning Report next week. If education is truly going to change the world, it must keep evolving to match the needs of learners all over the globe.

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