Although the majority of national school teachers are female it is five times more likely that the position of a primary school principal will be filled by a man.

A survey of schools reveals discrimination against women when it comes to the appointment of national school principals. At the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) congress held in Salthill in Galway, Dr Tom Kellehan of St Patrick's Training College in Drumcondra, Dublin says,

People and certainly teachers knew that there was some kind of bias in the appointment of principalships, that men tended to be over represented.

The study 'Equal Opportunities in Primary Education' attempted to put an exact figure on the disparity and to look at the possible reasons for the inequality. The study revealed that the probability of a man becoming a principal is around five times more likely than a woman obtaining the position. The figure is more surprising when the fact is taken into account that the majority of primary teachers are women.

A variety of factors have led to this situation including the predominance of men on interview boards which could lead to a bias against women being appointed to these positions. Other factors at work include general attitudes towards positions of power and the role of women in society. 

People might feel that teaching in a classroom is a woman's job and that being an administrator, a principal, is a man's job.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 April 1984. The reporter is Tommie Gorman.