North East Gender Equality Event at East Durham College

Pupils from Easington and Shotton Hall Schools and students from East Durham College have taken part in an exciting gender intervention project.

The project aims to promote good practice in tackling gender inequalities, especially in areas linked to the new 14-19 Diplomas. East Durham College has worked in partnership with the local schools to address under-presentation in three vocational areas namely; Creative and Media, Floristry and Arboriculture.

Professor Kate Myers, the 14-19 Gender Equality Advisor to the Department of Children, Schools and Families, and leading figure in the area of gender equality gave a key note speech at the event which was held to showcase the work the College, Schools and students had done.

Kate Myers said, “A DES survey in 1975 showed how girls continued to limit their careers choices at an early stage by choosing to study subjects traditionally associated with their sex and 30 years on it’s still the case.

“The new Diploma take up showed girls only made up 3% studying Construction and the Built Environment, 41% Creative & Media, 7% Engineering and 26% for IT. While boys only made up 8% on the Society, Health and Development Diploma.”

She went on to explain, “New legislation would not only introduce a general duty on public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment but to also promote equality of opportunity between the genders.

The event showcased the activities and work the students had been involved in, to help break down barriers and challenge gender stereotyping. These ranged from female musical technician work, male dance troop, female drumming, male flower arranging and female chainsaw handling.

Kate added, “The initiatives the students have been involved in are brilliant, I’ve been really impressed and hope other organisations will follow their lead.”

Dorothy Smith, Regional Director (interim), LSC North East said, “The LSC North East is delighted to be able to support the Gender Equalities Project at East Durham College. Initiatives like this widen the opportunities available to young people and encourage them to make the most of their interests and abilities, whilst removing restrictions that are often placed upon them by traditional expectations around career choice.”

Ian Prescott, Principal at East Durham College said, “I’m delighted with the enthusiasm and creativity the students have shown. It’s great that the College and its partners are able to lead the way in this important area.