[EDITORIALS]Gender balance in schoolsMore than 80 percent of new middle and high school teachers this year are women. At this pace, the percentage of female teachers at middle and high schools in metropolitan cities across Korea will likely reach between 70 and 80 percent in 10 years. It is forecast that the trend of scarce male teachers at elementary schools will be repeated at middle and high schools.
The large number of female teachers in our schools is raising a series of concerns. Our young boys could have difficulty finding male teachers with whom to talk about personal issues, and could lack the right male role models at school. This is not to say female teachers are any worse than male ones. But there has to be an even distribution of teachers to help our young students develop and form balanced outlooks on society and life.
Other sectors of our society are suffering from gender problems of the opposite kind. For instance, only 4 percent of police officers are women. Victims of sexual harassment and abuse complain that they suffer again due to male police officers’ ignorance on sexual crimes during investigations.
The percentage of female professors at national and public universities barely moved above 10 percent last year. The number of female students with excellent grades is increasing, and yet they have so small a number of female professors to look up to.
To resolve this problem of gender imbalance in education, applying a quota to the number of male teachers selected each year should be considered. In order to lessen the burden of the few male teachers now in place in our schools, subjects such as physical education should be taught by those with a specialty in such areas.
Also, schools must consider recruiting outside help for overnight duties at schools, and save male teachers from having to stay and keep guard at schools overnight. Such alternatives should also be pursued in areas where we lack female members.
A society where one gender is heavily represented and another is not in any sector is not a healthy one. Academics argue that we should become a 70/30 society, where by sectors of the society, one gender should account for at least 30 percent in order to earn the respect and the right to voice opinions.
The 21st century is demanding multi-talented and versatile individuals. It is about time for us to try to reform our social system and change our way of thinking so that both men and women can live in harmony and realize their potential together in all sectors of society.