Invited submission to Inquiry into the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Teaching Profession) Bill 2004, by the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee


Ken Rowe, ACER

Publication Date



Available online as sub01


The present submission focuses on two areas of relevance (with brief summaries), namely: 1. The ‘declining’ trends in male to female teacher ratios in Australian schools during the last decade, and possible reasons for the ‘gender imbalance’. Despite prevailing anecdote and popular myth, there is a pressing need to know more about senior secondary students’ students’ attitudes towards, and perceptions of teaching as a career – particularly those of males – prior to any proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. 2. It is important to be informed about relevant findings from local and international evidence-based research that shed light on the relationship between teacher gender and students’ cognitive, social and behavioural outcomes of schooling throughout their primary and secondary years. In brief, this evidence indicates that whereas students’ general academic achievements, attitudes, behaviours and experiences of schooling are influenced by their background and intake characteristics (~9% of the variance), the magnitude of these effects pale into insignificance compared with class/teacher effects (~50% of the variance) – regardless of teacher gender. That is, the quality of teaching and learning provision are by far the most salient influences on students’ cognitive, affective, and behavioural outcomes of schooling – not teacher gender.

Rowe-Senate_Submission[1].pdf (257 kB)
Submission 01