The Comparison of Gender Distribution among School Principals and Teachers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea

Yueh-Chun Huang, Cheng-Cheng Yang, Huan-Hung Wu


In 2008, OECD released one multi-national report about one important survey of its twenty-two member countries, the title of this report is “Improving School Leadership: Volume 1 Policy and Practice”. This report analyzed one specific common trend of its members, which is the “unique gender divide among school principals and teachers”. That meaning of this phenomenon is, in the context of school education in some OECD countries, the ratio of female teachers among all teachers is much higher than male teachers. However, the contrast point is, the ratio of female school principals is significant lower than male principals. This phenomenon is especially significant in the East Asia countries. For example, the percentage of female school principals is significantly lower than male principals when we observed the longitudinal trend in Taiwan. In Japan, the ratio of female teachers in primary schools is 62.7% and the ratio of female teachers in junior high schools is 54.8%, but the ratio of female primary school principals in Japan is only 17.9% of the total principals. When we look at the ratio of female principals in junior high schools in Japan, it is even lower; the ratio is only 5%. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to explore the unique gender divide among school principals and teachers in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The research methods include document analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. The statistical data is collected from Ministry of Education in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The supplemental data is collected from OECD dataset. This study compares the gender distribution among school teachers and principals in these three countries. In the last section of this study, we discuss the findings and their relationships with social cultures in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Policy and practice implications are offered to rethink the hindrance of female teachers’ promotion. How to enhance female teachers’ participation in school leadership is another important issue for future studies.

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International Education Studies ISSN 1913-9020 (Print), ISSN 1913-9039 (Online)


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