The Comparison of Gender Distribution among School Principals and Teachers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea

By Huang, Yueh-Chun; Yang, Cheng-Cheng et al. | International Education Studies, August 2012 | Go to article overview

The Comparison of Gender Distribution among School Principals and Teachers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea


Huang, Yueh-Chun, Yang, Cheng-Cheng, Wu, Huan-Hung, International Education Studies


Abstract

In 2008, OECD released one multi-national report about one important survey of its twenty-two member countries, the title of this report is "Improving School Leadership: Volume 1 Policy and Practice". This report analyzed one specific common trend of its members, which is the "unique gender divide among school principals and teachers". That meaning of this phenomenon is, in the context of school education in some OECD countries, the ratio of female teachers among all teachers is much higher than male teachers. However, the contrast point is, the ratio of female school principals is significant lower than male principals. This phenomenon is especially significant in the East Asia countries. For example, the percentage of female school principals is significantly lower than male principals when we observed the longitudinal trend in Taiwan. In Japan, the ratio of female teachers in primary schools is 62.7% and the ratio of female teachers in junior high schools is 54.8%, but the ratio of female primary school principals in Japan is only 17.9% of the total principals. When we look at the ratio of female principals in junior high schools in Japan, it is even lower; the ratio is only 5%. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to explore the unique gender divide among school principals and teachers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The research methods include document analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. The statistical data is collected from Ministry of Education in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The supplemental data is collected from OECD dataset. This study compares the gender distribution among school teachers and principals in these three countries. In the last section of this study, we discuss the findings and their relationships with social cultures in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Policy and practice implications are offered to rethink the hindrance of female teachers' promotion. How to enhance female teachers' participation in school leadership is another important issue for future studies.

Keywords: gender equity, teacher's career development, school principal, East Asian education

1. Introduction

In 2008, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted a large-scale survey on school leadership of 22 member countries: Improving School Leadership: Volume 1 Policy and Practice (Pont, Nusche, & Moorman, 2008). The survey indicated a common feature of elementary and middle schools of these developed member countries: the phenomenon of "unique gender distribution" in schools, namely, the ratio of female teachers is high, while that of female principals is extremely low. According to the survey, the ratio of female principals in elementary and middle schools in Australia is the highest among 22 member countries. Approximately 80% of the elementary school principals and 55% of the middle school principals are female. Moreover, the ratio of female school principals is reasonable in Israel and Sweden, while that of female school principals in the rest of the countries is low.

The ratio of female teachers in all of the elementary and middle schools in Taiwan has always been high, mostly above 65%. According to the statistics of Ministry of Education (2007a), the ratio of female teachers in elementary and middle schools was 64.83% in 1998 academic year, and 68.24% in 2007 academic year. The ratio slightly increased within the past decade. However, the ratio of female principals in elementary and middle schools has always been low. In 2001 academic year, the ratio of female principals was 19.37%. In 2007 academic year, the ratio of female principals was 26.86%, which was less than 30%. However, in the same academic year, the ratio of female teachers was approximately 70% (Ministry of Education, 2007b). There was a significant difference between the ratio of female principals among all of the school principals and that of female teachers among all of the school teachers. …

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