Sex Segregation and Tokenism among Teachers

  • Barbara J. Bank
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

At the present time in the United States and most other countries, the majority of teachers at the elementary and secondary school levels are women. That this was not always the case has been widely documented by historians and other social scientists who use the term feminization of teaching to describe the process of change that occurred in the nineteenth century as the majority of men teachers became a minority, and women assumed the overwhelming majority of teaching positions throughout the United States. Before this happened, patterns of sex segregation varied across the nation from rural to urban areas, from summer to winter, and from region to region (Perlmann & Margo, 2001). At the start of the Civil War in 1861, and for many decades prior to that, far higher proportions of women teachers were employed in the Northeast than in the South. Although regional differences persisted into the twentieth century, by the start of that century, women constituted the majority of teachers in all regions of the country and, by 1910, they were the majority in every state. Although United States census figures reveal some fluctuations in the size of this majority during the twentieth century, the proportion of teachers who were women in 1900 (74.0%) was about the same as the proportion who were women in 2000 (75.5%), the most recent year for which full census data are available.


Elementary School Teacher Human Capital Theory Teacher Burnout Educational Administration Elementary School Teaching 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara J. Bank
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbia

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