Teaching profession increasingly feminised in early school years

Women teachers over-represented at early stages of education in the EU • More than 1 in 3 teaching staff in the EU aged 50 or older in 2013

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Matthew Vella
2 October 2015, 12:13pm
 In ten Member States, the share of female teachers at pre-primary level exceeded 99%: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.
In ten Member States, the share of female teachers at pre-primary level exceeded 99%: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.
In all EU Member States, the teaching staff was in 2013 predominantly female, with shares ranging from more than 80% in Estonia (88.2%), Latvia (83.2%) and Lithuania (81.2%) to less than 65% in Greece (62.9%) and Spain (63.9%). At EU level, 7 persons out of 10 working as teaching staff were women.

Female teachers are largely over-represented in the early education stages, new data from Eurostat shows, with all teachers in EU pre-primary level teachers being 95.1% women.

Across member states, this share stood at below 95% only in France (83.0%) the Netherlands (86.6%) and the United Kingdom (90.0%). In ten Member States, the share of female teachers at pre-primary level exceeded 99%: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Romania and Slovakia.

A similar situation can be observed for primary education, although less distinctly. The largest shares of female teachers at this level were registered in Lithuania and Slovenia (both 97.1%), followed by the Czech Republic (96.8%), Italy (95.9%) and Hungary (95.6%). In contrast, Greece (69.9%), Spain (75.9%), Luxembourg (76.0%) and Sweden (77.0%) had the lowest shares. At EU level, 85.2% of primary school teachers were women in 2013.

In 2013, 8.3 million persons worked as teaching staff (from pre-primary to tertiary level) in the European Union (EU), of which 5.8 million (70%) were women.

Of the whole teaching staff working in the EU, 820 000 persons (nearly 10% of the total) were under 30 years old and 2.9 million (around 36%) were aged 50 or older. The share of teachers aged 50 or older was highest in secondary schools (39.2%) and at tertiary education level (36.1%).

Men only predominant among tertiary level teaching staff

The situation is more balanced in secondary education, where the share of female teachers stands at 64.0% on average in the EU. Only in tertiary education were men predominant: overall in the EU, women accounted for 41% of the teaching staff. At this level, women were under-represented in every EU Member State, except Latvia (56.3%), Lithuania (55.5%) and Finland (50.7%).

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.