To celebrate International Women's Day this year – we would like to thank every woman that has been a part of ep.education and all of those working in the education sector making a difference every day!
Here are a few of our most inspiring and influential women who have had a hand in shaping the education sector:
- Dame Marie Clay
Marie was born in Wellington and is known for her development of the Reading Recovery and whole language intervention programme. Although this programme is not as widely used, Marie was still the first person to develop the emergent literacy theory, where language is developed before beginning school and validates attempts at language and early literacy ideas such as scribbles on a piece of paper that may mimic those of letters or children understanding that books are read from left to right!
- Maria Montessori
One of the first female doctors in Italy, but a pioneer in education. Through her medical experience working with children and questioning the current education practices, she developed the Montessori method, which promoted children having autonomy and independence in their education, which benefitted their well-being. Montessori methods are still used today and have spread across the world!
- Malala Yousafzai
Malala grew up in Pakistan and was greatly influenced by her father, who taught and ran an all-girls school. When the Taliban took over, Malala was only 12 years old, yet she spoke out against their regime and advocated for girls' rights to education. She survived an assassination attempt when she was only 15 years old because of her views but has continued to advocate for every child's right to an education!
- Anna Julia Cooper
Anna was born into slavery in America but became one of the first black women to earn a PhD. She became an activist who championed African Americans and women and their rights to education and openly stated that the empowerment of people would be unlocked through access to education!
- Dolly Parton
Dolly is most known for her illustrious music career. However, having grown up poor and in the remote blue mountains in Tennessee, she noticed the low literacy rates in her community, some of whom she considered incredibly intelligent. This led her to found the Imagination Library, which provides free books to children under five years old worldwide! She also founded the Dollywood Foundation, an initiative that helped improve her hometown's school dropout rate from 35% to only 6%!
- Emmi Pikler
Emmi was a Hungarian paediatrician during World War 2 and ran an orphanage after that, where she was continually working with children. She also questioned her time's current child-rearing and education practices and sought to try something new. After implementing these with her children and those in the orphanage, the theories began to spread. They became a popular early childhood theory where infants, toddlers and young children are all innately capable!
- Dame Whina Cooper
Whina was a respected kuia and activist. One of her first jobs was as a teacher. She led the famous land march from Te Hāpua to Wellington to protest the loss of Māori land rights. This march helped to raise awareness of Māori issues and to bring attention to the need for greater recognition of Māori culture and language in New Zealand, such as within NZ schools. She believed Māori culture and language should be taught in schools alongside English, which would help promote greater understanding and appreciation of Māori culture among all New Zealanders!
- Dame Tariana Turia
Tariana is a former teacher, principal, and co-founder of the Māori party. Serving as a member of parliament helped to promote greater recognition of Māori culture and language in schools and to improve educational outcomes for Māori students. She was also instrumental in developing the Kura Kaupapa Māori system of Māori-medium education and worked to promote the teaching of the Māori language and culture in mainstream schools!