For Teachers, Does Gender Matter?

Flickr / Page Dooley
Though huge social disparities remain in the U.S., it's now a national fact that more women are getting college degrees than men. In fact, 57 percent of college students across the country are women. Coupled with the knowledge that girls have gotten better grades in school than boys since the 1970s, one might assume that women are on a path to educational domination.

But one field that in which women have traditionally held court might soon be overwhelmed by men: Teaching.

An experiment by Amine Ouzad, an economist in the UK, followed 1,200 students in 29 schools across the country, and found that students "try harder" and think they will be more fairly graded by a male teacher than a female.

Says Ouzad, "...What we saw is that students have better perceptions of male teachers, but that male teachers are not rewarding students more than female teachers...In terms of policy making, this will strengthen the fact that we will need to do more to have more male teachers in the classroom."

What do you think? Does a teacher's gender make a difference in how students respond? Should this kind of study affect policy or hiring decisions? And if it's true, why might students respond more positively to male teachers?