The role of female physical educationm teachers in a gender-equal society: some opinions on female physical education should be taught by female physical education teachers

Por: M. Kakemizu.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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It is said that in ancient Sparta, the curriculum of female physical education (PE) was almost the same as that for males, and that it was taught by a female teacher. In Japan, female PE teacher training started in 1902, 24 years after that of male teachers. In 1903, the government guidelines for teaching directed that as far as possible, " females should be taught by female PE teachers." This concept had been considered as the ideal since the postwar period when the new educational system was implemented. For a long time, the government’s guidelines were different for male and female physical education. The major difference in junior high and high school health and PE was that martial arts was taught to boys, and dance was taught to girls. Female PE teachers conducted the dance lessons in many cases. The difference in male and female education was eliminated when the government’s guidelines for teaching were revised in 1989. However, this was only a superficial change. The purpose of this study is to clarify the thoughts on "female PE should be taught by female PE teachers" in a gender-equal society.


This investigation was conducted in July 2003, by means of the questionnaire method. The sample comprised 563 students of the Tokyo Women’s College of Physical Education. The questionnaire was created by this researcher, and it was titled "Investigation on the physical education teachers in their high schools." The questionnaire was designed to assess and investigate the fundamental attributes of students and a high school as defined by the investigator.


The average number of PE teachers at a high school was 6.8; 1.9 female (SD 1.4) and 4.9 male (SD 2.5). Fifty-seven persons (10.5%) responded that there were no female PE teachers. There were even some girl’s high schools that had no female PE teachers. With the exception of a small number of private girl’s high schools, the ideal of "female PE should be taught by female PE teachers" has not yet been attained.

Discussion / Conclusions

The situation wherein a female PE teacher has to teach dance and the number of female PE teachers is small, which existed during the prewar days, remains unchanged. More respondents who were taught by female PE teachers believe that "female PE should be taught by female PE teachers" than those who were not taught by female PE teachers. The decline in the number of female PE teachers also leads to fewer schools implementing the concept of "female PE should be taught by female PE teachers."


  1. Itani K (2003) The gender subculture of school physical education as viewed through interviews of women physical educators, Journal of Sport and Gender Studies,1:27-38.
  2. Kakemizu M (1994) A study on the "female physical education should be taught by female physical education teachers" in the old system of Showa Era, The bulletin of Tokyo Women’s College of Physical Education, 29:1-8.



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