Teaching As “Feminized” Profession: Essay

530 WordsDec 28, 20113 Pages
As the pay gap chart disappointingly reminds us, the inequality in pay is as common today as it was before the women’s movement. Catharine Beecher, in fact, intelligently takes advantage of this prevalent cultural association in the mid-1800’s to create a career for young women that would be as respected as that of physicians and lawyers. As luring ammunition and catalyst for benefactors, she proposed the fact that women are not only more equipped to be teachers, but they could do so at a lower pay. A very attractive argument given the sheer number of teachers that would be needed in order to educate the youth of a new democracy. However, I’m willing to argue that Ms. Beecher, at the time, never intended for the latter argument to perpetuate for such a long time. It was just a means to accomplish a greater deal. An assumption that, once the teaching profession was established and a career as a teacher reached the levels she desired, the salary gap between the genders would be a non-issue is a reasonable one to make. It is important to keep in mind what exactly Ms. Beecher was trying to accomplish. She was an not advocate or equality, but rather a path maker and trailblazer who needed to convince the male-dominated establishment of the need to improve the American education system while creating a much needed profession for intelligent young women. While reading Ms. Beechers essay, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the book Anne of Green Gables. “We relinquish the pursuit of wealth, the paths of public honor, and the strife for patronage and power; give us the humble, sacred, delightful pleasures of benevolence.” (page 59) These words would have a reverberating effect on the profession for years and decades to come. Historically, teachers have been underpaid, disrespected, neglected and disfranchised from the decision making process regarding their schools.

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