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Women teachers in Liberia: Social and institutional forces accounting for their underrepresentation

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International Journal of Educational Development Volume 33, Number 5, ISSN 0738-0593 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This study focuses on cultural and institutional factors that affect women's decision to become primary school teachers in Liberia. It exposes current dynamics that account for the male-dominated primary school teaching force and the barriers that dissuade women from becoming teachers. Based on semistructured interviews with pre-service and practicing teachers, school administrators, faculty at teacher training institutions, and Ministry of Education officials, the research findings indicate that women face several cultural barriers to receiving an education: patrilineal assumptions that daughters are destined to become resources for their husbands’ families (and thus a poor investment), early onset of sexual activity and teenage pregnancy, and social expectations about early family formation. Women who enter teacher training programs receive no recognition for their children and family responsibilities and are given insufficient financial support. When women do become teachers, they face difficult working conditions such as distant schools, poor housing facilities, late payments, and large classes filled with overage students. The probability of rural assignment brings additional dissuading factors: poor quality roads and few transportation options, a dearth of safe housing, and lack of childcare services. The study offers several policy options for increasing female teachers in the workforce.


Stromquist, N.P., Lin, J., Corneilse, C., Klees, S.J., Choti, T. & Haugen, C.S. (2013). Women teachers in Liberia: Social and institutional forces accounting for their underrepresentation. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(5), 521-530. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 27, 2020 from .

This record was imported from International Journal of Educational Development on March 1, 2019. International Journal of Educational Development is a publication of Elsevier.

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