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Gender Inequality: Occupational Segregation of Teachers

  • By: Sarah A. Robert & Heather Killelea McEntarfer
  • In: Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: James Ainsworth
  • Subject:Sociology of Education (general), Sociology of Education, Education Policy

Occupational segregation of men and women teachers is a persistent, though not static, phenomenon throughout history. Segregation varies within the occupation for different ages taught. Teacher segregation also varies in different places. Women and men's differing rates of entry into teaching are attributed to labor market factors such as pay, opportunities for advancement, autonomy, and prestige afforded the occupation in broader society. Teaching, for example, is devalued in the United States as a profession, and in the ways the language and discourse of “professionalism” is gendered. Workers' beliefs, behaviors, and preferences for occupations also impact whether or not individuals enter teaching. For example, underlying notions of elementary teaching work as feminine, or as women's work, influence both women's and men's entry to the occupation. Broader ...

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