Eurostat has published some interesting data on women and age in teaching. 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. Women were largel...
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Eurostat has published some interesting data on women and age in teaching.
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. Women were largely predominant in the early stages of education, representing 95% of all teachers at pre-primary education level and 85% at primary level. In contrast, the majority of teaching staff at tertiary education level were men (59%).
This pattern is remarkably consistent, north and south, east and west. The former communist countries in general have more women teaching, but this is not particularly marked. Many supposedly egalitarian Nordics also have a notable lack of men teaching (Iceland: 86.4% female, Sweden: 74%).
Feminists will see proof of the shocking extent of the pervasive patriarchal culture preventing women from becoming an equal share of rocket scientists and CEOs – despite the West being by far the most gender progressive civilization today (and arguably historically). Evolutionary thinkers will see confirmation that women continue, despite anti-stereotyping efforts, to have an adaptive predisposition to liking the idea of nurturing children (rather than, say, getting into stupid arguments about abstract stuff on blogs).
Interestingly, the most gender-egalitarian nation in terms of teaching is Turkey with only 53%. Almost perfect equality! So perhaps Islam (through sexually-segregated schools?) is actually good feminism?
What can be done to increase the percentage of men in teaching? Perhaps garbage collectors and kindergarten teachers could be enticed to trade places?
Women continue to be underepresented in higher education at 41%. Eurostat does not provide data for previous years, but this is certainly a huge increase from the 1960s. I wonder if convergence has stalled or not. Several countries have achieved near perfect equality, and indeed in some women outnumber men: Latvia (56.3% female higher education), Lithuania (55.5%) and Finland (50.7%).
The Eurostat data also shows that teachers tend to be pretty old, although there is a lot of variation:
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%).
In 2013, the largest proportion of teaching staff aged 50 or above was registered in Italy (61.9%), followed at a distance by Bulgaria (47.7%), Estonia (43.1%), Lithuania (42.1%), Sweden (41.7%), Latvia (41.2%) and Greece (40.1%).
This would lend credence to the idea – in the age of the free and universal education provided the Internet, available to all those who have the necessary neurons and curiosity – that mass public education is becoming a vast welfare, baby-sitting, and social conditioning scheme, only very secondarily imparting wisdom to the masses.
In Italy (61.9% of teachers over 50!) it appears public education is a kind pre-retirement make-work program. In France, public education is the biggest single government spending item, just after servicing interest on the national debt of course.