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 teaching profession in India cannot be said to have been feminised, in the sense of women statistically dominating the teaching profession. Rather the overall picture indicates a shortage of female teachers, and the need to expand recruitment of female teachers, so as to facilitate the attainment of EFA and MDG goals. It is hoped that increasing the number of female teachers will “create a stimulating, participatory learning environment” (meeting at Nagarkot, Nepal in August 1997 cited in UNESCO, 2000).


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