Despite teaching being female dominated, men remain twice as likely to hold leadership positions. Headteacher Erika Eisele considers why this is and reflects on her own experiences as a school leader

While the teaching profession is overwhelmingly female, male teachers are almost twice as likely to hold leadership positions compared to female colleagues across the sector – and at primary schools specifically.

While there may be several explanations for this, we run the risk of creating unconscious bias from an early age that positions of authority should be male, and that the potential progression for females is limited.

There seem to be a range of factors at play. According to Thornton and Bricheno (2000), who investigated gender differences in primary schools including when it comes to career perceptions, some feel that parents, pupils, other teachers, governors and headteachers tend to greet male teachers with excitement, awe, or even fear precisely because they are a relatively rare commodity in primary education – hence why they then tend to aspire to leadership roles.

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