Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
Young Black girl with braids concentrating on laptop in a library

Gender Empowerment

Ensuring and Protecting Opportunities for Girls, Women and LGBTQ+ Students and Educators
Join together to break down barriers to educational and professional success so that women, girls, and all people who face gender discrimination can achieve their full potential.
Published: May 12, 2023
This toolkit originally appeared on

How to use this toolkit

All students deserve equal access to educational opportunities no matter their color, gender, or whom they love. However, girls, women and LGBTQ+ youth often face barriers that threaten their success in school and beyond. Girls of color are more likely than white girls to face unfair discipline. And sexual harassment and violence in school are problems that confront most all girls and LGBTQ+ youth. 

Across the country, educators are working to ensure safe and equitable classrooms, free from bias and discrimination. Women, girls, and all people who face gender-based discrimination are calling their elected officials, raising their voices, and organizing in the streets to put in place policies that help them achieve their potential. Use this toolkit to learn more about the issues and how you can join educators, students, families, and allies to mobilize and advocate for policies and practices that support the needs of all students, regardless of gender.

Safe learning for all

Women, girls, and LGBTQ+ people continue to experience discrimination and sexual harassment. Although federal Title IX protections requiring schools to address sexual harassment still remain in effect, many state laws and school policies need revision to ensure an equitable and safe learning environment for girls. Use the resources below to effect change in your school and state.

Bullying and Sexual Harassment Trainings

NEA offers professional learning on bullying prevention—providing members with resources and skills to prevent student-to-student bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and sexting.
Girls at school

Gender Justice

Certain politicians have created color-coded and gender-based barriers to equal education and are denying schools in poorer communities the resources they need. When they do this they risk setting back progress in gender justice by a generation. The National Women’s Law Center created a resource for state and local legislators and advocates fighting for equality and opportunity for women and girls at school, at work, at home, and in their communities.
Title IX at 50

Title IX At 50: Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Headed, and Why It Still Matters

The civil rights law has protected millions of girls and women from discrimination and has provided equal access and treatment in education; a proposed rule to Title IX will clarify protections and create safe, welcoming schools for all students.

Establish Equitable, Bias-Free Discipline Policies 

Every child, whatever their color, background or zip code, has the right to learn in a supportive environment that respects their humanity, upholds their dignity, and responds fairly to mistakes and mis-steps. But instead, certain politicians move to send police into schools to harm students who are Black,brown, LGBT or disabled for making mistakes that - for wealthy white kids - are deemed part of growing up and learning. The statistics are grim:  

  • Black girls are 5.5 times more likely to be suspended from school as white girls. 

  • Schools suspend American Indian/Alaskan Native girls at more than three times the rate of white girls and at a higher rate than white boys. 

  • Latina girls are 1.6 times more likely to be suspended than white girls. 

More alarming, girls are the largest growing juvenile justice population in the United States—often as a direct result of being disproportionately disciplined or suspended from school. These uneven rates of discipline are not because of more frequent or serious misbehavior. Instead, race and gender bias informs unfair discipline. 

Together, we can change this situation. The Alliance for Girls asked girls of color in the Oakland Unified School District about their experiences in school, and solicited their ideas for putting an end to the school-to-prison pipeline. The result—Meeting the Needs of Girls—is a toolkit full of practical solutions and ideas for improving equity in schools.  

The National Women’s Law Center has created a resource—Let Her Learn: A Toolkit to Stop Pushout of Girls of Color—to help educators and schools find out if your school’s discipline policy treats girls of color fairly, how you can change policy, and where to find help.  

Louise Stompor
Our work helped expand our members’ thinking on how certain issues affect all students. Many thought the school-to-prison pipeline mainly affected boys of color…[but] it happens to girls, too, and for a host of reasons. Sharing those reasons became important because people need to understand the problem first before they can fix it.
Quote by: Louise Stompor, Illinois, Instructional Coach Coordinator

Ensure Fairness and Opportunity for Women at Work

Today, about three-quarters of U.S. public school teachers are women. On average, women still earn just 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, with women of color receiving even less. At the same time, many women continue to face harassment and discrimination in their places of employment. NEA members have long fought for women’s right to equal pay and equal benefits, and freedom from discrimination and harassment. Use these resources to help ensure equity for women at work. Learn More
know your rights

Know Your Rights: Harassment and Discrimination

NEA created this toolkit to help members identify and respond to discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
women faculty pay gap

Women Rising: A Guide to Your Rights at Work

This NEA report provides an overview of the federal and state law protections that apply to women in the workplace, as well as guidance for taking action.
NEA leaders and teachers at women's march

Take Action on Women’s Rights

As a nation, we’ve made great strides in the fight for equality. But there’s still a way to go. Stay up to date on the latest federal advocacy actions to ensure gender equity in the workplace and to address violence against women.

Use Your Educator Voice.

We are THE voice for educators in South Carolina. See what membership can mean for you!
An illustration of a girl with butterfly wings and a bullhorn. She has a speech bubble that says, "Our power is stronger than fear!

Respect, Reflect, and Protect SC Students!

Only The SCEA has toolkits to help you understand the issues and defend the civil rights of all students.

Your Voice. Our Power. Their Future.

The SCEA is an affiliate of the largest professional association of educators in the country. As the leading advocate for the schools South Carolina students deserve, The SCEA works to promote quality public education and to support public school employees.