Feminisation of teaching

Feminisation means a trend towards the involvement of more females. Monitors had become a vital feature of most national schools by the 1860s, with 548 in convent schools and 754 female monitors in ordinary schools. Already it was becoming difficult to persuade boys to become monitors since they could earn more money running errands and doing odd jobs. This was to have serious consequences for male involvement in teaching as most teachers in Irish national schools were recruited through the monitorial system.

By the 1880s one of the Board inspectors was noting that,

... much more attractive and lucrative pursuits are open to young men...who naturally choose the easier life and the occupation which will pay best ... whereas teaching was the very best occupation open to a young woman.
Report of the Commissioners of National Education, 1880, H.C. 1881, XXXIV.

This led in turn to the feminisation of teaching which began in the 1890s, mainly because men were leaving due to low rates of pay and the availability of alternative employment and because women were being seen as ideally suited to teaching.


  1. Why did the feminisation of the teaching profession begin during the 1890s?


  1. Research the gender balance in the teaching profession at the moment.
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