Women have been making their presence felt in the teaching field in Pune for long. According to the District Information System for Education (DISE),as on May 2013,the state of Maharasthra has 2,97,480 female teachers working various educational institutions. This amounts to more than 43 per cent of the total 6,91,038 teachers employed in 1,03,625 schools and junior colleges across the state.
In Pune district,more than 60 per cent of total 53,397 teachers are women. As many as 32,427 female teachers have been working in more than 6,849 educational institutes up to higher secondary level,the DISE data reveals. According to education department officials,the number of female teachers in teaching profession has been steady over the past few years with retention rate relatively high compared to other professions.
Varsha Sharma,principal of Abhinav English Medium School,Ambegaon,who has been in the profession for over 15 years,said flexible job timings and limited working hours make the profession one of the most sought after jobs by women.
Teaching is also a safer profession. Women can go home and be with their families by evening. Besides,it is a noble profession indeed,which shapes young minds and inculcate values and principles in next generation. Being part of this noble work gives you immense job satisfaction, she said.
Sharma said issues of women safety associated with other jobs are not present in the teaching profession. In other jobs,women employees are generally a minority,but in teaching it is not so. For example in our case,we have more than 120 lady employees,including non-teaching staffers in a staff of total around 135. In our secondary education section,45 teachers are women out of total teaching staff of 50, she said.
While the school-level education system has firmly women at its forefront,the same is not true when it comes to higher education sector. In this area,women teachers still face gender bias and are often denied top posts. Educationist Dr A L Deshmukh said most of the female teachers have been facing difficulties in tackling with negative behavioral changes in students. Todays young generation are more aggressive and have a set of different values influenced by the process of globalisation. Every teacher is finding it difficult to deal with the changes in students and female teachers are especially worried. Certain provisions in the RTE Act have tied up teachers hands,when it comes to resorting to stringent punishment, he said.
In the higher-education sector,more than 40 per cent of teaching staff are women. Prof Hemlata More,president of the Pune University Teachers Association (PUTA),said women teachers are often denied top posts like principals despite having required qualification and eligibility. You would not find many women college principals like they are in schools. The male peers do not accept them at top posts. Even women teachers are often denied their rights,they are entitled to gain as per seniority, she said.