Women account for more than 60% of all schoolteachers, and 50.7% of those with the 25 to 29 years of experience that qualifies them for promotions. However, women principals and vice principals make up a meager 8.4% of all schoolteachers.
A breakdown of the ratio shows that women head the faculties in 7.2% of elementary schools, 9.65% of middle schools, and a paltry 4.5% of high schools. This is the reality of the Korean education system.
Women teachers over 60% but women principles under 10%
Active search for equality policies such as promotion quotas
Why this unequal gender ratio in leadership in an education system that teaches gender equality? Women teachers point out that "the biggest obstacles to promotions are unreasonable job evaluation methods and distorted allocation of gender roles where it is assumed that principals should be male." This distorted view has a negative influence on job evaluations, an absolutely vital factor in promotions. Thus under the current promotion system, women teachers are always shortchanged, whether directly or indirectly.
Experts worry that the dearth of woman principals and vice principals would mean insufficient role models for women teachers and schoolgirls, which would in turn cement undesirable gendering processes.
Things are not so bleak, however, with some women teachers demanding that schools adopt a quota system in order to put more women teachers on the school administration. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has recently set targets for each metropolitan and provincial office of education regarding the employment of women teachers at administrative levels. The Ministry has asked each office to come up with measures to gradually reach the employment target while stepping up staff training to groom more women teachers to take up administrative posts.
Gender equality, in both name and substance, and in quality rather than quantity, is expected to become the hot issue in the education system.