Women science teachers' experiences during a time of transition
Topham, Judith Anne Patricia
Master of Education
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With the projected mass retirements of male secondary school teachers, Ontario Ministry of Education statistics suggest that female teachers will - for the first time in Ontario history - constitute the majority of Ontario Secondary School teachers. To date, most of the research on the feminization of teaching has focused on the issue at the elementary school level where the phenomenon had been very noticeable for decades. Feminization of an occupation occurs when women move en masse into a profession or occupation and men leave it. Little research exists on feminization at the secondary school level. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine in which ways feminization of secondary school teaching has occurred. Six female secondary school Science teachers from two northern Ontario school boards were interviewed. The study was framed around two focus questions: “What are the experiences of women teaching in Science, a subject area traditionally dominated by men?” and, “In the educational setting, how are these women treated by others?” Data provided by the women suggest that feminization is occurring within secondary schools in northern Ontario. While working in an increasingly feminized environment, these female Science teachers were accepted as qualified and competent by those they worked with and encountered in the educational setting.