Welcome to the Profit of Education website. Continuing the conversation begun in the book Profit of Education, we discuss the latest economic evidence on education reform.

Why is the teaching force increasingly female?

Richard Ingersoll and coauthors write:

With career and employment alternatives increasingly available, one might think that fewer women would enter occupations and professions that traditionally have been predominantly female. This has not happened for teaching. Both the number of women entering teaching and the proportion of teachers who are female have gone up….It is unclear why this has happened.

I’ve made a little graph from the Digest of Education Statistics illustrating the facts. (Data is interpolated between years where needed.)pcntfemaleteacher

To add to the Ingersoll et. al. comment above, this is a period in which women have seen some improvement in wages relative to men outside of teaching, but not as teachers.

Mysterious.

P.S. In private schools, the fraction of women teachers has declined. The change is about 4 percentage points over the same period.

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4 Responses to Why is the teaching force increasingly female?

  1. preserve says:

    Honest questions,
    Has the ratio of female/male graduating from universities shifted since the 80’s?
    Do females see a greater opportunity of promotion into administration now than in the 80’s? This may attract more women into the field.
    Where are the greatest shifts occurring? Primary or Secondary?

    • Dick Startz says:

      The ratio of women graduating from universities has indeed risen, and there are more women principals now. The shift is largely in secondary school. All these things do point in the direction of more women teachers. So I think you may have identified at least part of the answer.

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