Teachers Are Underpaid Because America Does Not Value Women’s Work


The teaching profession is significantly understaffed and undervalued in the United States. One of the main reasons for this issue is the fact that the teaching profession, which is largely dominated by women, has long been considered a low-paying job. This article explores the link between the underpayment of teachers and America’s lack of value for women’s work.

The Gender Gap in Teaching:

Although there have been efforts to address the gender gap in the teaching workforce, statistics still indicate a significant disparity. According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 76% of public school teachers in 2016 were female. This disparity between male and female teachers illustrates the dominance of women in this field.

Historical Perspective:

Historically, teaching has been classified as “women’s work” along with other occupations like nursing and secretarial jobs. Such roles were considered less skilled and deserving of lower compensation. This mentality from past generations has seemingly carried over into today’s perception of the teaching profession.

Undervaluation of Women’s Work:

Gender bias contributes to systemic underpayment in female-dominated sectors. Predominantly female occupations often receive salaries that do not fairly compensate workers for their time, education, or skills. The wage gap between men and women remains a persistent problem, with women earning an average of 82 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Current Teacher Salaries:

According to data from the National Education Association (NEA), American public school teachers earn an average salary of $61,730 per year. However, these overall figures mask regional disparities – some states pay their educators far less than others. The failure to provide equitable salaries for all educators reflects society’s devaluation and neglect towards predominantly female professions.

The Impact on Education:

Neglecting teacher pay affects educational outcomes. When teachers are underpaid and undervalued, it becomes harder to recruit and retain qualified educators. Schools with high teacher turnover often struggle to provide consistent, quality education for their students. Additionally, underpaid teachers may have limited resources, negatively impacting the learning environment.


The underpayment of teachers is not just an issue that affects individual educators. It reflects societal values and our disregard for women’s work. Addressing gender disparities and ensuring equal pay will not only improve the lives of countless educators but also provide our children with a better chance at a high-quality education. By recognizing the historical context and working towards educational equity, we can begin to change how America values women’s work – starting with our educators.

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