The marked gender gap in the teaching profession is much less evident at the school leadership level, according to the figures.
After revelations that less than a quarter of teachers in Northern Ireland are men, other figures from the Department of Education show that the balance is much more in favor of men when it comes to employment. the most senior positions in schools.
In primary and preparatory schools, 60% of principals are women despite 84.5% of the teaching population being women.
Likewise, in all post-primary schools, 45.1% of principals are women compared to 69.8% of all teachers.
Figures show that it is much easier for a teacher to step up to the post of principal of a school in Northern Ireland.
And the Equality Commission (ECNI) called on the education sector to do more to address the employment imbalance and promote greater equality of opportunity.
âThe teaching profession is an area where there is long-standing evidence that there are gender differences when it comes to teachers – both in terms of the number of male teachers entering the profession and of female teachers. progressing to leadership positions within schools, âsaid Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner.
âAlthough teachers enjoy the same protections as all other employees under the Sex Discrimination (NI) Ordinance 1976 (as amended), the Commission has received relatively few complaints from teachers in recent years. years.
âEducation authorities, schools and their governing bodies must work together to make a conscious effort to promote greater equality of opportunity within the teaching profession. This includes taking practical steps to counter the influence of stereotypical views and obstacles encountered. This would both help to broaden the pool of candidates and improve the modalities of progression for those already in the profession and would encourage and foster a more balanced teaching profession.
In post-primary schools, men are more numerous than women in the posts of director, in particular in the non-grammatical sector with 55.9% of men against 44.1% of women. In high schools, 53% of all principals are men, with 47% women.
This contrasts with the overall gender composition of school teaching staff, with women accounting for 71.3% in non-grammatical schools and 67.8% in grammars.
In post-primary education as a whole, male principals are 54.9% to 45.1% more numerous than women, in contrast to the overall picture of teachers’ gender, which shows that there are many more female teachers than male teachers.
The education ministry said it would now consider measures such as targeted advertising and scholarships to encourage more men to practice the profession in the future.
INTO (Irish National Teachers’ Organization) General Secretary Gerry Murphy said: âINTO strongly believes that the teaching profession should reflect the makeup of society as a whole.
âOur teachers should reflect the children and youth in their classrooms in terms of gender, ethnicity and beliefs.
“It is incumbent on unions, the Ministry of Education and employer organizations to ensure that there are open paths in the teaching profession for all who have the necessary qualifications and the desire to help build a better future. for all of us. “
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