Equal opportunities policies in English schools: towards greater gender equality in the teaching workforce?

Moreau, Marie-Pierre, Osgood, Jayne ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9424-8602 and Halsall, Anna (2008) Equal opportunities policies in English schools: towards greater gender equality in the teaching workforce? Gender, Work & Organisations, 15 (6) . pp. 553-578. ISSN 0968-6673 [Article] (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2008.00405.x)


The under-representation of women in promoted posts is one particular pattern of occupational segregation by gender across post-industrial societies. This phenomenon also characterizes those professions which have been described as ‘women-friendly’, such as teaching. The development of national and European legislation and recommendations on equal opportunities reflects this concern to address the gender imbalance among the workforce. But do schools identify women's under-representation in promoted posts as an issue? To what extent do school's policies recognize and remedy the gender imbalance at managerial level? To answer these questions this article draws on a study of women teachers' careers in nursery, primary and secondary education in England. It shows that school equal opportunities policy statements widely ignore the under-representation of women in school managerial positions. It suggests that the constructions of gender issues in schools by those in charge of designing and implementing school policies, that is, head-teachers and governors, represent a key hindering factor for equal opportunities policies to contribute to greater gender equality. A major argument in the article is that because head-teachers' and governors' discourses do not always fundamentally challenge the position of women in society, school policies and practices can offer only a limited contribution to gender equality.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 17872
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Kristina Repova
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2015 09:22
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2019 11:43
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17872

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