Lori Tolson has an extensive career of teaching English as a second language, Middle Eastern, and Western European languages. Her blog posts appear on CNN.com every other Friday.
By Lori Tolson, CNN • Published 7th July 2020
(CNN) — This is the year of discussion.
The #MeToo movement, the #TimesUp campaign and the #MeToo movement, Justice League, gender-bending, science, space inclusivity and mental health and #FaceTimeAndNotSome.
Each of these campaigns is specifically focused on efforts to empower, uplift and improve the lives of women and girls. This is all coming out of the public consciousness through constant reminder and light that women are not treated as equals.
I am the mother of four children who all had to learn a new language. And as I watched them march through and grow with their new acquired languages, I saw a sharp divide in the average gender ratio. Women were routinely the only one who showed up to classes, often having to come from other parts of the world where the English is spoken.
I started to wonder if these children would be the next generation of teachers, later giving lessons to their students, and who would be our best teachers?
The schools district I am presently employed with decided to enact diversity policies and asked for applicants who have worked in schools where a majority of students are not traditionally male or female. My response is: Yes! I have taught in South Africa, the Middle East, and back home in Canada, where the predominant male population are Aboriginals and the majority of the female population are First Nations and Inuit.
I look back at my time in those situations and realize that I was very lucky to be working in schools and with a district that values a broader gender spectrum. I don’t know how other mothers, or men, got the right to get a job but I am proud to be part of the education system today, part of the support systems to minimize the disadvantages that women and girls faced when I was a teenager.
Eleanor Sidman is the Toronto district trustee of the Toronto District School Board for the 21 board areas. She is also the president of SADD, Students Against Drunk Driving.