Beginning with the common school movement in the late 1830s, teachers increasingly began to be recruited from the female population. This was in contrast to the colonial period and the postrevolutionary period when men dominated the profession. Women were teachers during this earlier period, but only at the lowest levels, as indicated by the titles given to teachers, including masters, tutors, governesses, and school dames.

Rationale for Bias

Women were recruited into the teaching profession—particularly very young women (often at the age of thirteen or fourteen)—because they were an inexpensive and malleable labor group who readily met the demands of a burgeoning school system. In many instances, teaching became a brief interlude in the lives of young women, one which took place prior to marriage and ...

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