My thoughts on this topic occurred naturally as I was doing administrative tasks for Rathú. I was writing to principals and deputy principals to let them know that we were offering professional development courses for teachers. I had come across figures somewhere that approximately 70% of Irish teachers were women.
But I was sending the majority of my correspondence to school leaders with “Mr” as a title!
It struck me as odd, given the dominance of women in the profession, so I started digging!
According to the CSO in 2014/2015 there are 6,291 men and 32,687 women working as teachers in primary level education in Ireland.
Out of that, 1 in 5 men hold the position of principal whereas only 1 in 15 women do.
According to the INTO 2017/2018, 86% of their members are female and 14% are male.
Women make up the bulk of teachers in the Irish education system, yet women are clearly under represented at leadership level.
Why is this?
Clearly everyone’s own career choices are personal. People have their own reasons and rationale when deciding whether or not to go for promotion.
Personal decisions aside, the data is clear.
For some reason or another, women, Irish women, specifically Irish women working in education are holding themselves back and are not putting themselves forward for leadership positions or ‘the top job’.
I genuinely don’t know the answer to why this is the case – it is of my opinion that, in general, Irish women are strong and capable. They demonstrate leadership qualities in abundance.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this – how can we encourage female teachers in Ireland to progress?