Gender discrimination in education field

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I started out as vice principal at Hilo Intermediate because they had opened up a certification program and I went through that and I passed it so I became the vice principal of Hilo Intermediate at age 29 I think. And then I was there for 8 years while my daughter was growing up. And then I became…I applied for principalship and the only thing they would give me was to be a principal of small elementary schools and of course during those days in 1960s, early ‘60s, there was still this feeling that women were not the main breadwinners. For example, they said, “You know, you’re not the main breadwinner of your family and we have to keep the jobs for the main breadwinners.” So the only thing they offered me was to be a principal of 3 elementary schools at one time and to close one of the schools at the end of the year.

And so I was sort of upset but I went to them and told Glen, “You know, I think I’m going to show them”. So he says, “Go for it.” So I became principal. My first job as principal was to take care of 3 schools and then to close one of the schools which I did.

And then on top of that, because I’m a secondary person, the personnel officer from Honolulu came and said, “You know Margaret, you have secondary teaching certification and to be a principal of an elementary school, you have to have elementary certification. So can you teach one hour per day for one semester?” Which I did in addition. And I taught, of course, mathematics to special ed students, which wasn’t bad at all.

Date: May 31, 2006
Location: Hawai‘i, US
Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

discrimination gender

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