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“Step it up for gender” is 2016’s official United Nations Women theme for International Women’s Day (IWD).

In the run-up to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), education unions, women leaders and Educational International (EI) member organisations, of which NAPTOSA is a member, ensured that gender equality issues were not overlooked amongst the chosen targets and indicators that will measure the attainment of the education goals by 2030.

 As the world begins the task of implementing the new SDGs, NAPTOSA President, Dr Anthea Cereseto, has placed the development of women leadership high on NAPTOSA’s agenda, given that 70% of NAPTOSA members are women. NAPTOSA women have been, and continue to be, the driving force behind our professional activism, demanding quality education and better working conditions for our members. Women‘s active participation in union matters cannot be underestimated for its significance to our movement.

NAPTOSA men and women should be consciously engaging in mentoring young teachers and transferring knowledge, especially to women, by participating in activities that are aimed to promoting gender equality. NAPTOSA policy has given women the opportunity to ascend to top branch and provincial leadership positions. These efforts, however, have not resulted in more women being elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC).

NAPTOSA can “step it up for gender” by making it possible for women to engage in unionism by ensuring that the Union environment is more gender-sensitive. NAPTOSA strives to increase the number of women in leadership positions and for gender equality.

Gender equality is a human rights issue. NAPTOSA, therefore, calls on members to “step it up for gender” by supporting the advancement of women and their economic empowerment.