Breaking Barriers: Teaching English Abroad Empowers Women

By Deborah Ferguson
In a world where the majority of teachers are female, we look at what sets teaching English abroad apart as a career path that empowers women

Though it may not be the first career that comes to mind when you hear the words “empowers women”, teaching English abroad promises the chance to grow by stepping outside of your comfort zone. 

It evokes the anxiety women may feel making such a bold move, literally, by heading overseas alone, as well as the exhilaration at all the possibilities, money-wise and adventure-wise.  However, how exactly do these things take the form of empowerment?

An opportunity for everyone 

As an English teacher, one big draw is that you don’t need a university degree. In a world where inequality is rife when it comes to the accessibility of higher education, teaching English is an opportunity for all women who are proficient in English, from all walks of life, to see the world and learn new skills. 

All you need to teach is a TEFL qualification, and even this comes with the choice of undertaking it in person at a local training centre or selecting an online course – both of which can be completed at your own pace. Bear in mind when selecting your course that the industry standard is 120 hours, which includes studying and observations. 

After around 10 weeks, the average time needed to finish the qualification, all that will be left to do is narrow down precisely where in the world you’d like to go first. In the meantime, for more information about teaching abroad, click here

Develop useful life skills 

It goes without saying that moving abroad is a big financial step. While some schools help teachers with the initial costs of flights, this isn’t always a guarantee. You may also need to pay for a visa, depending on where you hail from and where you’re flying to. 


Teaching English abroad thus requires a certain level of financial literacy to save for future adventures, as well as budget while abroad. However, many studies have revealed that women tend to be less financially literate than men. What better way, then, to learn than entering an industry that requires a certain level of competency? 

While these are skills that you could certainly hone from the comfort of your own country, being abroad, away from your support system makes financial security all the more important. Even more so should you decide that a particular place or living abroad isn’t for you, and you want to make a quick escape. 

And so, encouraging financial literacy by teaching English abroad ultimately encourages women’s financial empowerment. While you may not stay abroad, these are skills that will help bridge the gap between men and women and promote financial independence. 

Invest in yourself

With ever-advancing technology and availability of nomad visas, there’s no reason why teaching abroad can’t eventually lead to using your contacts in the industry to start your own business and go freelance. 

Reports show that in some parts of the world, post-pandemic, returning to the workforce has been notably more difficult for women. So, why not take this matter into your own hands and forge your own path? By setting up your own business, not only will you be able to set your own rates, but you’ll also grant yourself the scheduling flexibility you need to work on your terms. 

In addition to this, English is in demand all across the world. Another advantage of going freelance is that you can travel whenever and wherever simply by following that demand, with opportunities to teach both online and in person. How you choose to teach is something you can decide based on your contacts and the clientele you establish. 

According to the world economic forum, around a third of women, globally, are self-employed, not including the agricultural sector. Investing in yourself as a freelance English teacher would mean joining the ranks of entrepreneurial women. In the long run, you may even potentially inspire others to do the same. 

Teaching opens doors

There is so much to be learnt through travel. As you explore the world through teaching, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in new cultures and even pick up a new language, or languages, along the way. What you learn through teaching abroad is not limited by that career path, though. 

If you find that teaching English isn’t something you’d like to pursue long-term, these are skills that will make you a more dynamic candidate when applying for new roles. Employers will see that you don’t shy away from a challenge and that you are adaptable, as well as motivated when it comes to going after what you want in life. 

For those that like the idea of building a life-long career out of teaching English abroad, it is important to note how meaningful teaching can be for women. The majority of teachers in the world are female. However, in some poorer countries, teaching is one of the only high-skilled jobs that are accessible to women.

With this in mind, teaching English abroad can also be a way to empower other women. 

It is a position that comes with a great deal of responsibility; to teach and assist students in achieving their goals, but also to inspire and set an example of what is possible. 

Ultimately, if nothing else, teaching English abroad boils down to being brave enough to reap the benefits of travelling alone as a woman, as March8 has previously detailed. What that looks like is up to you. Even a baby step to teach in a country, a quick flight or train ride away from home could mean a giant leap in your confidence as a woman. 

By teaching English abroad you will also be teaching yourself that your comfort zone has only ever been a guideline. That the subtle differences between men and women don’t have to remain that way. But above all that, as a woman, teaching English isn’t always about just teaching.



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