Why There Are More Female Teachers Than Male

Why There Are More Female Teachers Than Male

When you think of teaching, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? At the lower education level, all you can imagine is a caring female teacher. On the other hand, you can only think of a bearded man, in the case of tertiary institutions teachers.

With this, you might think there’s an equal number of male and female teachers in the education field in general. However, there are generally more teachers at the pre-tertiary level than there are at the tertiary level.

This is because there are more students enrolled in pre-tertiary education as it serves a broader age range, and some countries implement compulsory basic education.

So why are there fewer male teachers in general in the education field and why’s it a female-dominated profession?

After all, more than 74% of teachers in the United States alone are women. So, let’s take a look at why the profession is female-dominated.

Why Teaching Is Female Dominated

While teaching is considered a respectable profession, the profession is mostly dominated by women in most parts of the world. So, let’s break down the reasons why this is the case.

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Limited Options In The Past

Although it may be surprising, teaching was once considered a male-only profession. These were times when learner age restrictions were strictly enforced.

Before the mid-19th century, teaching was a male-only role. While boys were given an education, girls were taught to take care of household chores.

This left a huge divide making it close to impossible for women to enter the academic field especially since they had no formal training, to begin with.

With the rise of industrialization, men started branching into other fields including business, manufacturing, and more.

Taking advantage of this and the need for personnel to fill in the gaps, educators decided that women were natural teachers, and more suited to teach grade school than men.

And since women were economically vulnerable as a result of their limited employment options, leveraging this opportunity to teach meant they could become economically independent, for the first time.

This meant a huge influx of women into the teaching profession. By the mid-19th century, school districts started ushering young white women into the teaching profession in large numbers.

Consequently, women made up the majority of teachers, and within a few decades, teaching younger children began to be seen as a female-only role by 1990.

However, cultural and political shifts in the mid-20th century led to women seeking additional employment in traditionally masculine roles.

This then resulted in some level of increase in the percentage of men in the education field, although to a lesser extent than with women.


It’s no secret that women as seen as more caring and patient compared to men. Traditionally, women were seen as being responsible for the upbringing of children.

Teaching was seen as a natural extension of this role, a perception that persists even to this day. This is especially the case at the lower level of education.

The presumption is that men lack the patience necessary to take care of younger children. But women on the other hand were instinctively encouraged to take up such roles.


While you may find some teachers who are millionaires, no one expects the next world’s richest to be a teacher. After all, teachers in most parts of the world are underpaid, compared to their counterparts in non-teaching fields.

This has made the profession less attractive to men who may prefer higher-paying careers in other fields. This leads to women, who on average earn less than men in many countries, pursuing teaching as a career.

Flexible Schedule

This point may be argued as the teaching profession can be quite hectic. That said, the benefits are undeniable as teachers often have shorter workdays and longer breaks.

This means that parents would close from work at the same time as their children. Making it a more attractive profession to women looking to balance work and family responsibilities. They could spend time with their children during long school vacations.

Fear Of False Accusations

No one wants to tip-toe throughout their career. Male teachers, especially at the lower education levels, walk on eggshells in school out of fear of false accusations from female students and sometimes other teachers.

In this age of spin, a simple false accusation from someone in a teaching setting would be enough to ruin a career, and that’s if you’re lucky.

Understandably most males would rather not take this risk. The general thought is that “if teaching children as a male teacher is the problem, why not teach older students?”

Unfortunately, working with older students comes with an entirely different set of problems.

It means the possibility that some students may end up crushing on a male teacher. The situation becomes worse when these students try to act on these crushes.

Other times, some students looking to increase their grades may approach teachers, sexually in many ways, which could also go horribly wrong depending on how the teacher approaches such a situation.

This makes the teaching profession less attractive to male teachers who might have a genuine passion for teaching children.

Most would either choose to either teach at the tertiary level or simply choose a safer profession. After all, how can you love something if everything you do is scrutinized and you’re weary of false accusations at every corner?

Some female teachers have also been accused of inappropriate behavior but the cases are always extreme in the case of male teachers.

Even when male teachers who are accused of inappropriate behavior are found innocent of any wrongdoing, there’s always the court of public opinion.

And in this age of social media, you can be assured that your life can be ruined by a false accusation or a simple misunderstanding. Most male teachers choose not to take this chance.

Society And Parental Preference

Parents and society in general feel more comfortable leaving children in the hands of female teachers than males. Seeing a female student laughing with a male teacher sets off alarms.

Male teachers are instantly seen as threats and parents would feel happier knowing their children are in no danger.

Limited Male Role Models

This may be similar to the classic chicken and egg problem. Males are scared to teach especially at the lower education levels. This leads to male children with limited male role models in school, which discourages them from also pursuing a career in teaching.

If male students don’t see men succeeding in the role of teachers, they’re less likely to consider it as a career option.

Not considered Manly Profession

Obviously, teaching is no macho job. Unlike engineering, military, and some less macho, but still average roles like software development, producers, and more, there’s the stereotype that teaching is a female job because it isn’t masculine enough.

This is especially true for male teachers at the K-12 levels of education, which is also one of the reasons most teachers at that level tend to be female.

After all, you can’t brag to your friend, who’s in the construction field about the dangers of a student rubbing paint on your clothes.

That said, this kind of male mentality is on the decline in recent years. However, that hasn’t significantly increased the percentage of male teachers in our educational institutions.

How To Attract More Male Teachers

It’s not going to be easy to see a significant increase in the percentage of male teachers, especially at the lower education levels, but it’s worth a try. The best approaches would be to:

Offer Financial Incentives

One of the primary reasons why the profession is female-dominated has to do with the lower salaries. And while this may sound biased, one way to incentivize men to become teachers is to provide higher salaries and other benefits.

Simply increasing teacher salaries in an attempt to increase the number of male teachers may seem unfair to female teachers, but it’s still a way to get more men into the profession.

Promote The Importance Of Male Teachers

Having a male presence at school at an early age will enable children to learn from the diverse experiences of both female and male teachers.

Most learners can relate better to teachers of the same gender and some claim lessons administered by teachers of that gender were easier to understand.

It’s important to promote the importance of having male teachers in the profession in any strategies geared towards increasing the number of male teachers.

Address Negative Stereotypes

One important issue to address in any attempts to increase male teacher representation in schools is the negative stereotype.

Male teachers don’t need to walk on eggshells at the workplace. Viewing male teachers with suspicion simply because they love working with children isn’t going to encourage more male teachers, especially at the lower education levels.

Unfortunately, this isn’t something that would be easy to achieve in our modern world.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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