Where men are an endangered species
MALE teachers are an endangered species in the classroom, with new figures showing the rate of men in the profession in Queensland continues to fall.
The Sunday Mail can reveal less than 15 per cent of the state's primary school teachers are men, with the proportion falling every year since 2015.
Across all year levels about 12,200 men are teaching in state schools, compared with more than 40,000 women.
Macquarie University's Kevin McGrath said the decline had potentially harmful effects, with research showing gender diversity among teachers was crucial for children's gender knowledge, their sense of belonging and to challenge harmful stereotypes.
But he admitted there was no "quick-fix" solution.
"The two biggest stakeholders in education are students and parents, and boys, girls, mothers and fathers say they want both female and male teachers in schools," Dr McGrath said.
"But we need to avoid quotas at all cost, which not only trivialise gender inequality but tend to create further division rather than solve the problem."
The lack of diversity is not limited to public schools, with figures from the Queensland College of Teachers - which include independent and Catholic schools - showing less than one in four teachers registered in 2019 were men.
St Paul's School Bald Hills teachers Chris Holley and Nathan Woods, both in their second year teaching, are two men bucking the trend.
Mr Holley said while studying at the Queensland University of Technology the majority of his cohort were women, but he felt supported in choosing the profession.
"I definitely think there needs to be diversity, because that's the world we live in," he said.
"Having positive role models who are men and women, for both boys and girls, is really important."
In the past Queensland has undertaken various strategies to get more men into teaching.
In 2002, the then state government released an ultimately unsuccessful strategic plan aimed to increase the number of male teachers to 35 per cent by 2006.
A spokesman said the Education Department did not implement recruitment policies that unlawfully discriminated on the grounds of gender.
"The department recognises the value of a diverse and talented teaching workforce, and continues to work with stakeholders to promote teaching as a profession for both male and female applicants," he said.
"Over many years now, education authorities across Australia and internationally have noted an imbalance in the proportion of males attracted to the teaching profession.
"Teacher quality, regardless of gender, is the most important aspect of attracting and appointing teachers."