Women and the Teaching Profession

Exploring the Feminisation Debate

image of Women and the Teaching Profession
The debates on women and teaching have been wide ranging and, in some cases, contentious. They have included reviews of why the profession can become gender imbalanced in favour of women, the impacts of this on learning processes and student education, and the implications on women’s overall empowerment within society and the economy.

Most of the research to date has concentrated on developed countries, such as the UK, Australia and Canada, where women have been a significant majority in the teaching workforce for decades. This study looks at how the teacher feminisation debate applies in developing countries. Drawing on the experiences of Dominica, Lesotho, Samoa, Sri Lanka and India, it provides a strong analytical understanding of the role of female teachers in the expansion of education systems, and the surrounding gender equality issues.

Co-published with UNESCO.




The presence of a significant proportion of women teachers - particularly in the early childhood and primary levels - is a long-standing phenomenon that characterises the education systems of many countries: Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom are examples of countries often referred to as having 'feminised' teaching professions, denoting that women represent a significant majority of the teaching workforce. An increased number of females in the teaching profession is often associated with education systems that have achieved or nearly achieved universal basic education. On the other hand, those countries that continue to strive towards Education for All (EFA) and the education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are more frequently associated with having a deficit of women teachers.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error