Coffey - Coffey A& Delamont S(2000 Feminism and the...

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Unformatted text preview: Coffey, A. & Delamont, S. (2000). Feminism and the classroom teacher: Rescarch, pmxis, and pedagogy. New York: Routledge/Falmer. 4 Gender and the Teacher’s Career NOTICE: THIS MATERIAL MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW _' UITLE 17 U3. CODE) Many individual feminists suffered professional burn—out under this pressure to love and nurture all their students (no matter how repulsive some of those 'little individuals” were). (hierccr 1997: 4]) Introduction This chapter concentrates on the pOSition of women within the career of teaching. In doing so it addresses two particular issues. Firstly, as Hilary Burgess (1989) has pointed out, while teaching is a good job for a woman it is a career with prospects for men. In the course of this chapter we hope to explore that pOsition — both by addressing the gendered structuration of teaching and by considering the opportunities and realities of career advancement for women in teaching. Second, teaching is often conceptual- ized as an occupation that has been feminized — that is. it is one of the liberal professions that has undergone feminization. The feminization thesis - that the gender balance of a profession is skewing towards women a has at least two meanings: that of numbers and that of ethos While we are able to say with some confidence that the first kind of feminization is visible (the majority of the international teaching force is female), the second kind of feminization 7 suggesting new structures, organizations and ways of seeing/working e is harder to delineate. In the course of this chapter we draw some conclusions about the extent of feminization within the teaching profession. The chapter is organized into three general sections: (I) an overview of women in the teaching profession; (2) career trajectories and promotion; (3.) leadership, administration and management. These sections all contribute to a general aim of attempting to map relationships between gentler and the division of labour in teaching. By concentrating on teaching as a job and as a career we are attempting to locate the experiences of (women) teachers within the educational labour market and world of work. in doing so we do not elaborate on the everyday experiences of teachers as they go about their 44 ma wane-w -~—.-um.p-nprm~wan-WNW,4......Nm...m.n.,__\-.a w -,. fi.\...u. ....uwi..Wa-mM—wm .ifi—gbw-mm. -ehz:mw’y-r\wl-wzwu-r ‘ ,- ..,w._.._=w my.“ V.‘ .....,...,_.. “Humesrm~1-r-g~v-_. ,..,.., .. “faunas“ w #w'vrav‘uT‘V'Amfyyrrfyfi'qg'vye -. u. r...-.. Irlvvu “Hang“..wmn 1 Gender and the Teacher": Career work and the construction of their identities and biographies through their work (although we do include some data on the experiences of promotion and of educational management). We concentrate much more on individual experiences and biographies in Chapter 5. Women and Teaching The position of men and women in the teaching profession as a whole mirrors their position within international labour markets. A gendered divi- sion of labour exists with the teaching profession (Acker 1994). There are more women in teaching than men, and women are an increasing majority within the teaching profession In principle. ‘ieaching is a career in which women and men enjoy equal opportunities‘ {Measor and Sikes 1992: Ill). However the numbers of women securing senior teaching posts remain disproportionately and disappointingly low (Acker 1989 and 1994, Bell and Chase 1993, Boulton and Coldron 1998, De Lyon and Migniuolo 1989). In England and Wales, for example, women make up over 65 per cent of all teachers. and yet account for less lhan 45 per ceni of head teachers (DfEE 1998). On the whole {and of course there are exceptions e some women do reach the high echelons of the teaching profession), women teachers remain clus— tered in lower, unpromoted ranks of 1he teaching profession, and often in particular (traditional/feminine) subject areas and school arenas. Women are under-represented in headships, senior teacher roles. educational leadership and administration, In the USA, for example. men make up over 90 per cent of school superintendents (head teachers) (Chase 1995), and women are not proportionately represented in educational administration. Male dominance of the occupation is striking because superintendents rise from the ranks of teachers, seventy percent of whom are women. While the presence of women in the prestigious professions of medicine and law has increased slowly over the last twenty years, the superinten- dency has remained resistant to women’s integration, despite the fact that half the graduate students in programs of educational administra- tion are now women. (Chase1995130) This is a familiar story, echoed and sustained elsewhere. In Canada, while three—quarters of elementary school teachers are women, three-quarlers of the principals are men. While almost half of secondary school teachers are women, over 85 per cent of secondary school principals are men (Taylor 1995). This general position is also evident among the policy ranks of teaching. Turner et al. (1995) highlighted the gendered divisions within Her Majesties Inspectorate (HMI) of schools in Scotland. The HMI is 45 Gender and the Teacher’s Career responsible for the auditing and government inspection of schools. In 1994 there were thirteen senior management/chief inspectors in Scotland. of which only one was a woman. And in the Scottish inspectorate more gener— ally. women made up only 20 per cent of the total. This picture was also reflected by Adler et al. (1993), who noted that out of 108 chief education oflicers in England and Wales only sixteen were women. There are excep- tions to this familiar tale, for example. and ironically. in the Irish education system (Lynch l99l). Ireland has both a religious (mainly Catholic) school system and a lay (or secular) school system. Teachers drawn from religious orders (nuns, priests and brothers) do not compete for senior posts in the open educational labour market. Religious schools draw senior posts from within their own members. Hence within the Irish Catholic school system in particular you do find many (religious) women who hold senior educational posts. However, in the lay system the picture is less promising (and more predictable). In Ireland. like elsewhere, women are under-represented at most senior management levels in schools (Lynch 1991). Golding and Chen (1993) present a complex picnu'e of school principalship in Israel, which has undergone considerable feminization in terms of numbers. Between 1972 and 1989 the numbers of women securing principalships in Israel rose dramatically; women now make up 67 per cent of elementary level principals and 37 per cent of secondary school principals. Golding and Chen (1993) note that this trend has been paralleled by two further trends: that of the dramatic erosion of the occupational prestige of the teaching profession as a whole in Israel and the steady increase in the education attainment levels of school principals. Hence the scenario is that highly educated women are moving into school principalships at the same time as the social status of the teaching profession in Israel is decreasing. The issue of seniority or promotion within teaching is even more complex if one considers subject specialism and school type. Women make up the overwhelming majority of teachers of nursery and primary (elementary) age children (over 80 per cent in England and Wales, 75 per cent in Ireland). However, the numbers of female principals in these sectors do not mirror this. For example, in Ireland in 1988—89 only 8 per cent of women in primary teaching were principals. compared with almost 40 per cent of men (Lynch 1991). In secondary education the pattern is less marked. though still significant. In England and Wales women account for over half of all secondary classroom teachers, and they only secure 22 per cent of headships in that sector (DiEE I998). Lynch (1991) has argued that one of the major problems is that few women actually apply for principalships (less than 32 per cent of all applicants). She has pointed out that those who do apply fare reasonably well. The problem seems to be the level of application rather than the quality of the applicants (we return to this as a factor of promotion later in this chapter). Other commentators have noted this scenario (see Acker 1994= Boul‘ton and Coldron 1998, Hilsum and Start 1974). We explom 46 m' J-q-u‘anfle-V. u -v- "1.-.“? :9 «w :1 a n a wry-war w, .a t}; «mam m N74- 0-14 . qrvg-vq-x:g.tr~x;_ ”I «:mfiwm- T ,- .-_.,m,.,.,l_.__.e....,.t+:.w,._....,w-_ y—qmwwsvm .w..a,.;..w- Wm. ,Fiu-mm-«g-nn-aww yuan-1 M‘l—JE‘NTvfithf‘gv-‘vlrl' Gender and the Teacher ’3 Career the relationships between gender and promotion in the teaching profession in more detail later in this chapter. Many of the senior posts that are held by women correspond to what may be considered to be traditional sex-typed or feminine areas of the educational spectrum. When women do reach senior posts in teaching these tend to correSpond to ‘traditional feminine’ educational areas. Men tend to be heads of faculty. heads of sixth form, deputy heads and head teachers. Promoted women tend to be heads of year. heads of lower and upper schools, and heads of special education. That is, women are concentrated in promoted posts that are mainly pastoral in nature (Torrington and Weightman 1989). Where women teachers are promoted to deputy principal- ships they are more likely to be promoted to posts with a special remit for pastoral carc. As with the high numbers of primary school teachers who are women, this seems to confirm the notion that women tend to be found in posts that combine teaching with caring roles (Mercer 1997). Where women do become subject heads, heads of sections or departments, it is still more likely for them to do so with what might be perceived as traditional subject boundaries. In mathematics and science subject areas, for example. women are still under—represented both in terms of actual numbers and in terms of senior posts. despite such educational projects as, for example. Girls into Science and Technology (GIST) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) in the UK (chwood 1996. Whyte 1986). These projects were aimed at encouraging girls into science and technological subjects at school and as an educational career. Indeed, the overall success of such initiatives has been called into question. A report commissioned by the UK governmcnt (HMSO 1994) noted the only partial success of WISE. Felicity Henw‘ood‘s (.1996) discussion of the WISE initiative indicates that the limited success rests. in part at least, in the ways in which the ‘WISE discourse” defined the ‘problem= of women as one of ignoring opportunities and lacking informa— tion, rather than concentrating on structural inequalities, and gendered discourses with science and engineering occupations and sub-specialities. Henwood concludes thus: We need to understand more about the relationship between gender. sexuality and work and the ways in which both gender and (hetero)sexu- ality are produced through the construction of difference at work. Only by exploring these relationships more systematically can we begin to understand how and why any radical or transformatory potential of equal opportunities initiatives such as WISE is constantly undermined. (Henwood 1996: 212-73) To summarize, in terms of the numbers of qualified and practising teachers. and student teachers (see Chapter 6), women are in a majority. Children in formal education are being educated in the school classroom by women. 47 Gender-rind the Teacher ‘5 Career However the evidence suggests that women do not appear to have acecss to the power and policy-making within the education system (nor are they able to influence, in any uniform or sustained way, the knowledge base that forms the bedrock of teacher education — see Chapter 6). 111 that sense teaching, while becoming increasingly feminized (in terms of numbers), is not becoming distinctly fBHCIMfJ'I (in terms of career trajectories, discourse and ethos). A case could be made that, as it has been demoted in terms of prestige the teaching profession has been ever more willing to encourage women to apply The parallel trends that teaching has become more feminized (at the junior and younger ranks especially) while being conceptualized as a semi- professiou (Acher 1983, 1994 and Chapter 8 of this volume) has meant that the aspirations of feminism in terms of labour-market opportunities have perhaps not been met here (yet). While the majority of new recruits to teaching are women, that does not necessarily translate into a majority of women holding permanent posts. in lreland in 1987, for example, females constituted the great majority of education graduates. However. when it eame‘to obtaining permanent teaching appointments on qualifying, the male graduates fared better. Twenty per cent of male graduates in both primary and secondary education got permanent jobs. compared with only 9 per cent of female graduates. Conversely, over 80 per cent of female grad- uates of education secured part-time or temporary work. compared with 65 per cent of the male graduating student teachers (Lynch 199]). There are. of course, equal opportunities policies and codes of practice within schools (for a summary of these in the UK see Turner et a1. 1995. Arnot et al. 1996. Salisbury 1996). Local education authorities in the UK, responsible for state schooling. routinely collect equal opportunities data on race, gender. family circumstances and so on as part 01' the application and recruitment process. This acts as a monitoring mechanism. However the actual impact it may have on the actual recruitment and interview process is difficult to assess. 1n Greece. primary and secondary school teachers are hired according to official procedures that stipulate that lists of applicants should be ranked according to date of university graduation. Again this accords with an equal opportunities ideal and may benefit women (who form the majority of recent education graduates) (Kontogiannopoulou~Polydorides 1991). Teacher unions have also taken up the mantle of equal opportunities within the profession. In Britain, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) esolved to campaign for equal pay as early as 1904 (Orarn 1987. Partington 1976). More generally, women teachers have been active in teacher unions as a way 01' seeking to challenge male hierarchies and place feminist issues on union agendas (Rowbotham 1989. Weiner 1994). However. battles over equal pay and equal status have been drawn out and. at times. bitter (Delamont 1990). During the 19505 and 1960s the National Association of 4'8 wreath». Maw-mung up“ - w- mag-r ‘fi‘fi'i ~.. :1? i i‘ . 'N i, l: i NEI'F'FRV-Im Avfpiew—‘JfN-H’“W-A'IKA‘rrlrn Gender and the Teacher’s- Career School Masters (a men-only union) argued to reverse the decision of the principle of equal pay and set a tone for a gendered division within the ranks of the teaching profession. The teacher unions have not provided an alternative source of career advancement and job satisfaction for women. as might have been the case. In the UK, women teachers had separate unions (as did men) prior to the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, and. through unions such as the National Union of \Vomen Teachers, they sought to establish equal worth. and career recognition. liideed some of the early women teacher unions could be said to have been distinctly feminist in their outlook and action. However, with the 1975 Act, single-sex unions disappeared and merged, a consequence of which could actually be seen to be the demotion rather than increasing prominence of gender and equal opportunities issues. Top jobs within teacher unions tend to be held by men. VVomen’s sections within the estab— lished teacher unions have not been mainstreamed. \Vomen teachers in the NUT, for example. began a sub-group in the late 1970s to seek to establish a plaCe for women’s rights issues and to analyse the domination of men within the union. And while they were successful in getting the NUT. together with the Equal Opportunities Commission, to undertake a survey of promotion and the women teacher (NUT 1981), it is fair to say that the equality agenda has not been pursued very strongly by the teacher unions. There has certainly not been any sustained or lasting impact of union activity that has permeated to the teaching profession as a whole. Before considering the explanations for and experiences of the gendered career trajectories within the teaching profession. it is worth noting that this picture is a familiar one throughout the broader education system. As we explore in Chapter 6. men effectively manage teacher education. Although the number of women academics working with university education depart- ments is greater than in some other higher education fields. women are seldom in a position to dictate policy. as they are mainly concentrated with The lower ranks of the profession. This is a picture mirrored in further education (Leonard 1998) and higher education (Acker 1994. Brown 1999, Lie and Malik 1994, Masson and Simonton 1996). Brown‘s (1999) analysis of men and women at the decision-making levels in British higher education (1996—97), for example. is a salutary tale: 42 per cent of higher education colleges and universities in Britain had no women in any of the five senior academic positions (vice-chancel]or/principal: pro-vice-clianccllori’depu[y principal; registrar or equivalent: bursar (or equivalent) and university librarian). Only twenty out of I46 institutions analysed (that is, only 14 per cent) had more than one senior female academic officer. There were no senior women in six of the eight colleges in the University of Wales. Similar patterns are evident among the academic ranks. For every ninety-six male professors in Britain, there are only four women, and in some disciplines it is hard to find a woman professor at all. 49 Gender and the Thatcher’s Career Careers and Promotion It remains the case that women are disproportionately under-represented in the ‘eareer’ of teaching, while remaining a majority of the teaching labour force. There have been a number of explanations put forward to explain or account for the under-representation of women in school management and senior educational posts. As Boulton and Coldron (1998) have pointed out, these explanations have been built around assumptions about gender and career. Literature on women‘s career patterns and under-performance in teaching has been located in assumptions of a deficit model of women and the labour market, and in a pervaSive ideology of individual choice. Hence the arguments have been made that women have not succeeded in achieving promotion because (a) they lack the necessary aspirations, qualities and skills and (b) they choose not to put themselves forward for promotion. Feminist scholars have challenged these assumptions — proving them to be inadequate and masking a far more complex positioning of women within the career of teaching. Indeed it has also been suggested that assumptions that Women lack ambition and promotional qualities are more a part of the folklore of the staff room (Delamont 1990, Measor and Sikes 1992) than the experienced reality of women teachers (Boniton and Coldron 1998). Bloot and Browne (1996) identified nine clusters 01‘ factors in the litera- ture as possible explanations for the under-representation of women in promoted positions in education: - policies and regulations - patriarchy within the education system ' gender role stereotyping - male models of leadership - family commitments - low promotional connotations for women - women’s own perceptions - lack of skills and experience - lack of encouragement and support. These clusters lend themselves to three overarching sets of arguments: (1) women‘s co...
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