Back-to-school time is quickly approaching. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, teaching was considered a feminine career. It gave many women the means for economic independence. However, it was anything but an equal opportunity.
Classified ads for teachers noted whether an institution was seeking male or female teachers. The ads for women emphasized “feminine” subjects such as literature, drawing, and music, rather than Greek, Latin, math, and science. While women made up a majority of the profession, they were paid significantly lower wages than male teachers, reflecting the belief that men needed higher salaries to support families. Women were also discouraged from teaching after getting married.
In the face of this adversity, women teachers continuously fought for parity. Not until after World War II and the rise of feminism did women finally begin to win equal pay.
[Photo: Los Angeles Times, August 17, 1882, p. 4, part of ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
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