Thursday, 17 November 2016

Is the teaching profession gender biased?

teaching profession

Feminization in the teaching profession is neither a recent development nor is it restricted to India. This phenomenon has been persistent worldwide for decades now.

What is the underlying cause of this gender bias in teachers’ fraternity? Why do fewer men and more women want to pursue teaching as their career? Let us find out.

What does statistics imply?

With every passing year, there’s an increase in the number of female teachers as compared to male teachers. From 20 female teachers per 100 male teachers to 95 female teachers per 100 male teachers is quite a leap for 50 years’ span. In urban Indian schools, today many schools have only 5-10% of male teachers. It’s good that more and more women have come forward to join teaching. But the rate with which the ratio has skewed over the past few years is a clear indication of decreasing interest amongst men towards this sector. If this remains a scenario, soon we will hardly find any male teachers in schools.

Why this skew in statistics?

Above has not been a scenario from ever. Post liberalisation, government policies have encouraged enrollment of girls in schools and made it mandatory to have at least one female teacher in every primary school. Which started off as an initiative to invite more women to join teaching profession through renewed policies, incentives to women, and teaching training centres for women has reached a stage where men have become less inclined towards teaching. One more reason being the flexibility a teaching job offers to women regarding shorter working hours.

What makes teaching a preferred choice amongst women?

An absolute majority of working women in our country have to render dual responsibilities of taking care of both work and home. So teaching is considered to be an ideal option for females who want to balance their family and work. Shorter working hours and longer vacations are the most lucrative aspects of a teaching job. It is even more convenient for the women with children, as the school timings of their kids are most likely to overlap with their practising hours.

Whats drifting men away from teaching as a profession?

Although decades back, teaching was a career for males. But with so few of them currently in school jobs, others are less inclined to view it as a desirable option. There’s a snowball effect here. Lower the number of male teachers already in the profession; more likely are the other men to perceive it as an area for women.

What is the role of schools?

Schools, especially primary and pre-primary tend to hire more female candidates attributing to traits they consider intrinsic to women such as motherly affection, patience and discipline. One more reason why many men don’t even apply for teaching jobs. Everyone needs to realise teaching is a skill which has nothing to do with the gender of a teacher.

Do we need more men as educators?

Every profession today is rising above gender disparity and teaching should too. Children need both male and female teachers as their role models. Some experts believe that boys, who struggle more in the classroom could use an example of male role models. Men of today are more patient, warm and affectionate, qualities generally associated with women to make them suitable candidates for teaching. So this is just a matter of mindset. Moreover, by joining this profession, even men can enjoy benefits like job security, longer vacations and convenient working hours.

What's the solution?

We need to break free from gender stereotypes in the classroom. Let us not reach a stage where ‘mam’s’ strikingly outnumber ‘sirs’ in schools. We all should make intensive efforts to change the perception of teaching as a whole. Men should be encouraged as much as women to opt for teaching as a career. Hiring managers have to make sure that they don't display preference by gender while hiring. Men should themselves not refrain and come forward to serve as teachers. After all, we don't need a world left with no men teachers at all.

Men or women, if trying to make a career into teaching, you must seek out TalentSprint’s guidance and support to take the right decisions in your career as a teacher.

Good luck!
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