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Becoming women teachers

Becoming women teachers: gender and primary teacher training in Ireland, 1922–1974

Posted 23 June, 2023

Becoming women teachers

Drawing on archival material and oral testimony of former students, this paper examines the lives and experiences of women in Catholic primary teacher training colleges in Ireland in the period 1922–1974. It commences with a brief overview of the historical context in which these colleges emerged, situating their development within the socio-political and cultural context of the emerging Free State and the changing primary school curriculum. Residential and single-sex, the paper argues that the colleges promoted a gendered ideology and culture of femininity which mirrored the conservative, nationalistic and ultramontane agenda of post-Independence Ireland. Paradoxically, while this often led to a limited, anti-intellectual experience and a hegemonic framing of women teachers’ professionalism, many graduates used their new-found professional status as teachers to embrace high-profile leadership roles in twentieth-century Ireland, often in male-dominated fields...

Prof Judith Harford and Áine Hyland

Link to the article (opens in a new window)here

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