Why are primary school teachers mostly women?

Now it is (quasi) official: Teaching is a woman's job! The last men's bastion - the grammar school - has fallen

DUSSELDORF. The report is quite numerically heavy and is therefore a bit brittle - but the content is tough: "Of the 154,010 full-time teachers at the general schools in North Rhine-Westphalia in the 2015/16 school year, more than a quarter were men," says the official Statistical office of the country with. “Only” - that should be the correct name. Because never before has the proportion of women in the colleges been as high as it is today. Even the last male bastion, the grammar school, with almost 60 percent (in North Rhine-Westphalia, but also nationwide) is now clearly predominantly in female hands. Is that actually a problem?

The “gender reassignment” of the school over the past decade can be seen most impressively at the grammar school: Ten years ago, men were barely outnumbered there, at least in North Rhine-Westphalia. In the meantime, the majority of jobs at all types of schools in the most populous federal state are held by women: At the state's secondary schools, for example, the male quota fell within ten years from 39.8 to 32.9 percent. In the country's primary schools, men are now exotic; their share decreased between the 2005/2006 and 2015/2016 school years from 10.9 to 8.7 percent. Across all school types, the proportion of male teachers has fallen by five percentage points from 32.9 percent in the 2005/06 school year to 27.9 percent.

The numbers are approximately nationwide transferable. The Federal Statistical Office announced in April: Almost three quarters of teachers (72 percent) in the 2014/2015 school year were female - significantly more than ten years ago (67 percent). In the 2014/2015 school year, 89 percent of teachers were female at primary schools, 63 percent at secondary schools and 58 percent at grammar schools.

Boys fall away - are women to blame?

Is the surplus of women in the colleges possibly responsible for the poorer school performance of boys on average? Probably not: In a lecture at the academic graduation ceremony for the graduates of teacher training courses last year, the holder of the chair for elementary school education at the University of Würzburg, Prof. Margarete Götz, used historical findings to demonstrate that girls were better at school than Boys. Even at a time when there was no question of too high a proportion of women in schools. In 1878, for example, girls out of a total of 9,000 candidates at primary schools in German-speaking Switzerland did better than boys. Götz: "Back then the school was still firmly in the hands of men."

The graduation rate among girls was higher for the first time in 1981 than among boys. This lead remained almost constant until 1989, after which it increased steadily. In 2007, around 30 percent of all girls of one age group graduated from high school, while it was only around 21 percent for boys. Whether a boy or girl is good or bad at school depends on many factors. However, it is not guaranteed by the gender of the teacher (which has actually been confirmed by several studies that examined the performance of male students who were predominantly taught by men - with no effect). According to Götz, however, it is a fact that women dominate schools today. In every federal state there are significantly more female teachers than teachers. Götz: "Today the teaching profession is a domain of women."

According to the university's press release, a look back at history reveals an overall exciting development. After the middle of the 19th century, the teaching profession opened up a way for unmarried women to build up an existence outside of their families. This path was coveted because there was a shortage of men and thus, as they said at the time, a “virgin problem”. However: women were not allowed to teach in higher schools. They were limited to the lower elementary schools and the lower classes of the girls' high school. In order to be able to teach at a grammar school, one had to have studied. However, women were forbidden from studying - with arguments that were at least as baseless as the blame that women are now being accused of with regard to boys' educational misery - said Götz.

Only since the end of 1903 have women been allowed to study in Germany. The prohibition to study was just one of many obstacles for women. Teachers who decided to get married were practically banned from working. "Because there was what is known as' female teachers' celibacy '," explained Götz. Female teachers had to be single until the 1950s. Background: Not too many men should be pushed out of the colleges. However, that didn't work for long. From 1965 to 2007, the proportion of women among teachers rose from around 46 to 69 percent.

Incidentally, the academic graduation ceremony at the University of Würzburg was also dominated by women: Of the five best candidates, three were women. Educational Journalism Agency

About the report: Study: No trace of equal opportunities! Despite better grades, women are less likely to receive scholarships