Informal poll conducted at NEU conference: 98% of teachers experienced sexism

Posted on 16.04.24

UK Feminista was delighted to attend the National Education Union (NEU) Annual Conference in Bournemouth from 3 to 5 April 2024. Our team had insightful conversations with primary and secondary teachers about the shocking levels of sexism they are facing in their school settings. In fact, an informal poll conducted at the conference found that 98% of respondents had witnessed or experienced sexism in their school or college.

Many teachers recounted their experiences of sexism from students, colleagues, and in some cases, parents. Amongst those with experience of sexist language from students, there was a sense that misogyny is a growing issue and that misogynistic online influencers are continuing to be a role model for some students. Some staff had experienced sexual harassment from male colleagues, which they felt had not been taken seriously enough when it was reported. We also heard of parents speaking to female staff in a demeaning way or deferring to male staff in meetings.

Sexism has no place in the education system. It is incumbent on senior leaders in schools to take action to combat sexism and sexual harassment. UK Feminista offers a range of resources and training options for education staff on how to take a whole school approach to combatting sexism and sexual harassment.

However, UK Feminista recognises that sexism is a societal problem which cannot be left to schools to tackle alone. We support the NEU’s call for an independent inquiry into misogyny among young men and urge the government to take urgent action to combat sexism in schools.