Special Issue/Édition spéciale 1994

Ontario School Teachers: A Gendered View of the 1930s

Cecilia Reynolds
Brock University
Harry Smaller
York University
Published November 30, 1994
How to Cite
Reynolds, Cecilia, and Harry Smaller. 1994. “Ontario School Teachers: A Gendered View of the 1930s”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue d’histoire De l’éducation 6 (3). https://doi.org/10.32316/hse/rhe.v6i3.4622.


This particular article arises out of a longitudinal empirical study on teacher socialization with specific regard to relations of gender, ethnicity, and race. It focuses on a number of observations about Ontario teachers in the 1930s:

1. The overall percentage of men in teaching rose, but much more so in rural areas than in the cities.

2. Salaries of teachers dropped considerably during this time.

3. There was a significant change in teacher certification procedures, within which gender played a large role. Salaries were also affected by these certification changes.

4. Average ages of teachers increased significantly during this decade.

5. In general, teachers had more years of teaching experience than their colleagues did in the previous decade. However, there were significant gender differences in these figures. 

6. Both formal and informal policies against the employment of married women as teachers were enforced. 

This article details these observations, and then discusses what significance they may have had, in the context of overall 'gender relations' among teachers in Ontario. A number of relevant sources for the 1930s were examined: annual reports of the Ontario Department of Education; annual reports, minutes, and handbooks of the Toronto Board of Education; and contemporary newspapers. In addition, reprinted transcripts of two groups of interviews have been drawn on—six men and women who taught (and later became principals) in Toronto in the 1930s, and a number of women teachers from the 1930s who were inter viewed for a 1980s study on women's experiences during the Depression.