by Stephen Drill - Sunday Herald Sun - Australia

The glass ceiling has been well and truly smashed in schools, with women now outnumbering men in the top job for the first time.

Of Victoria’s 1587 government school principals, 50.9 per cent are female compared with only 18.3 per cent in 1991.

But as the trend for women in leadership roles grows, the number of male teachers in primary schools has slipped to only one in five.

Lalor West Primary School principal Anne Hulett said there were no longer barriers for women who wanted to scale the ladder.

“If women believe in themselves there are opportunities for them to get ahead,” she said.

“I don’t think there is a glass ceiling any more. It would exist only in people’s minds.”

Lalor West Primary School has only one permanent male teacher, Matt Hyde, 23, who has become a mentor for young male students.

The Education Department has encouraged the surge in female principals through the Eleanor Davis School Leadership Program aimed at giving them the skills to take on the demanding job.

“Gender should not be a barrier to principals being selected on their merit,” Education Department spokeswoman Anna Malbon said.

Only 20.2 per cent of primary school teachers are male, while in 1991 men made up more than 40 per cent of teachers.