|Lesotho: A Baseline Study of the Teacher Education System (CIE, 2000, 83 p.)|
|Chapter Eight: Gender|
A lot is going on in Lesotho to address gender issues. Students of both sexes are encouraged to choose previously sex-stereotyped professions. People at grass roots level are being educated on gender issues, but one would feel more hopeful if the policy were actually being implemented; a prerequisite is that parliament should abolish all the laws that discriminate against women.
This chapter has presented something of a paradox. It has shown that on the one hand females perform better at all levels of the education system than males, and that women predominate in the teaching force even up to the training college level. On the other hand, women are still discriminated against in various spheres of life.
It could be that Basotho culture and traditions support the view that men are more important in society than women, and therefore boys upbringing focuses on their social and economic role in life rather than on education. In the past this was reinforced because it was easy for an illiterate man to get a relatively well-paid job in the South African mines. In turn, this meant that boys were sent to mind their fathers herds while the girls were allowed to go to school. Now that teaching has become a feminine profession, there are fewer role models for boys in schools.
It is to be hoped that the new gender policies will set up a structure within which both sexes can enjoy equal opportunities and equal rights.