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Women and Educational Leadership

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Josephine Siune

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of Women and Educational Leadership

Josephine Siune
Women and Educational Leadership- PROF301
Future of women in principal roles in primary schools in New Zealand
Why are there less women principals in primary schools?
What are the barriers for women to taking principals' position in primary schools?
What strategies are needed to overcome barriers?
Women's status
Women's leadership style
Gender role stereotyping form negative attitudes that women are inferior to men are and lack abilities in headship positions (Pounder & Coleman,2003,Oplatka, 2006).
Women are limited to lower roles and determines them with domestic (Coleman,2002).
Teaching for women, they put into practice their nurturing ways,and men are to lead (Court,1994).
Female leaders focus on building relationship and practice democratic ways of leading, and men are more aligned to task oriented and autocratic( Eagly & Johnson, 2010).
Women leadership styles include caring, nurturing,loving, and patient which portray characteristics that is not suited for effective leaders (Blackmore, 2002).
Women more often employ "power through" and "power with" approach rather than "power over" which is associated with masculine characteristics (Brinia,2012,p.178).
Women leading styles in developing countries used 'androgenic' approaches due to strong cultural male practices (Oplatka,2006).
All characteristics of leadership are associated with traditional male characters( Gaus, 2011).
Educational leadership promotes male leadership characteristics as important for leadership( Brinia, 2012, Eagly & Schmidt, 2001).
Internal Barriers
External Barriers
Some of the external barriers that prevent women to progress into principals positions are:
sex role stereotyping
sex discrimination
lack of educational leadership trainings
personal life vs. professional life ( Strachan, 1993,Gaus, 2011, Pounder & Coleman,2002).
These roadblocks can be overcome by implementing social and institutional changes
Motivation can change the obstacles, the patriarchal culture, and the prevalence of masculine leadership roles.
Motivation employed in primary schools may impact women's decisions to advance into principal positions (Cox & Salsberry, 2012).
Schools should provide opportunities that can intrinsically motivate women such as professional development and mentoring programs.
Provide moral support in building confidence and guide women into leadership roles, but not excluding role models.
Implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) legislation, has not contributed to important change in gender diversity in principal positions representation (Brooking, 2003).
Restructure of policies for effective and balance work opportunity for women in leadership roles.
Incorporating family friendly policies and practices (Cox & Salsberry, 2006).
What does statistics say about New Zealand?
Teacher census in 2004 reports that out of 43 759 teachers in New Zealand, majority are females with a total of 82% female and 18% male in primary schools.
Only 3% female hold principal positions and 11% male teachers (Ministry of Education, 2005).
ere are some internal barriers that can stop women to access principal positions in primary schools:
women's personal character
aspirational level
individual beliefs and attitudes
determination and self image ( Gaus,2011, Oplatka,2006, Cubillo & Brown, 2003).
These obstacles can be addressed by each individual woman.
Summary of the literature
Personal summary
Women lack self confidence, self esteem, aspiration or motivation and lack ambition(Gaus, 2011).
Negative attitudes about women's management skills are internalize in schools' recruitment and selection processes.
Appointing of principals in primary schools by Board of Trustees is inconsistent and highly discriminatory toward women (Brooking, 2005).
Promotional structure in schools is designed based on male ideas of hierarchy (Court, 2005).
Women are determined as "less worthy or qualified than men to lead and manage" (Coleman, 2002, p.18)
Primary schools should provide a family-friendly culture that can boost women's morale and not to limit their access to experiences in school setting (Cox & Salsberry, 2012).
School has to create an environment that women can feel secure and comfortable to work in and advance further in their career.
Encourage more girls to go schools in order to build in confidence, self esteem and aspirations into future leadership careers (Optalka, 2011).
Increase various leading role opportunities for children to participate both in and out of schools, which may help boys feel more comfortable with the idea of women as leaders (Cubillo & Brown, 2003).
Establish and maintain educational leadership trainings in the school.
Women are numerically dominated in teaching, but are underrepresented in principal positions in primary schools in New Zealand. Ministry of Education (2002) states 40% female principals and 60% male, and MOE (2005) is 3% women principals and 11% men. Associated factors include women's position, gender stereotyping and discrimination, and the leadership approaches employed by women are seen as unsuitable for leaders (Gaus, 2011). Such practices are internalized by schools which then influence the selection and recruitment processes of principals for primary schools that results in low number of women ( Brooking, 2005). The common barriers that impede women's advancement to headship positions include sociocultural and institutional barriers (Gaus,2011). In order to overcome these hindrances, the motivational, environmental factors (Cox & Salsberry, restructuring of policies to include gender diversity (Brooking,2003),and learn about leadership at an early stage at schools is vital, and can help pave women's way up ward to principal positions. Many women made their way out of these obstacles to leadership, however, there are still few women holding principal roles in primary schools.
There are few women in principal positions today in New Zealand (MOE, 2005), but there would be more in the future. More women will take principal positions if the appointment and recruiting of women into principal positions in primary schools focus primarily on the qualities of a leader, and not merely on traditional perceptions and beliefs of patriarchal values and gender roles. Selection should be based on merit and equity ( Brooking, 2003). In order to meet the standards of educational reform based on better quality education, leadership styles should change too. Women come into leadership with varied approaches which they are capable to contribute to the changing practice of leadership (Cubillo & Brown,2006). The collaborative way of leading is seen as more appropriate in today's environment.Therefore, it is important to "reshape leadership rather than lead as men has done in the past" (Grogan, 2010, p. 782).
Due to influence of globalization, electronic media ,and other technological changes, more women move into employment including teaching. Therefore, it is assumed that in the future there would be more women taking leadership roles such as administrators and principals in primary schools. Number of women are also greater in post -graduate educational administration and leadership programs which qualifies them for principal positions than men (Brooking, Collins, Court & O'Neill, 2003). Additionally, the pool of men in primary teaching is declining, therefore more men will retire in five years time and will create more spaces for women to lead as principals."The future of leadership in primary schools will be female and collaborative" (Brooking, 2003, p.1).
Patriarchal values create roadblocks for women to become a principal in primary schools despite approval of equality (Gaus, 2011).

MOE, 2002, states 40% women are principals and 60% men principals ( Brooking, Collins, Court & O'Neil,2003).

Brinia, V. (2012). Men vs. women; educational leadership in primary schools in Greece: an empirical study. International Journal of Educational Management, 26(2), 175-191.
Brooking, K. (2003). Boards of Trustees ‘selection practices of principals in New Zealand Primary Schools: Will the future be female? BERA Conference, Edinburgh, 11-13 September, 2003: 1-13.
Brooking, K., Collins, G. & O’Neill, J. (2003). Getting below the surface of the principal recruitment ‘crisis’ in New Zealand primary schools. Australian Journal of Education, 47(2), 146-158.
Brooking, K. (2004). Board of trustees’ selection of primary school principal in New Zealand, Delta 57(1&2), 117-140.
Coleman, M. (2002). Women as headteachers: Striking the balance. Stoke-on-Trent, England: Trentham Books.
Court, M. (1994). Women transforming leadership. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University Printery.
Court, M. (2005). Reviewing feminist analysis for educational leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand, 1970-2000: A personal critique. Delta 57(1&2), 11-46
Cox, K. S., & Salsberry, T. (2012). Motivational Factors influencing women’s decisions to pursue upper-level Administrative Position at Land Grant Institution. Advancing Women in Leadership, 32(1), 1-34.
Cubillo, L. & Brown, M. (2003). Women into educational leadership and management: international differences? Journal of Educational Administration, 41(3), 278-291. doi:
Eagly, A., H., & Schmidt, M., C., J. (2001). The Leadership Styles of Women and Men. Journal of Social Sciences, 57(4), 781-797. doi:
Gaus, N. (2011). Women and school leaderships: Factors deterring female teachers from holding principal positions at elementary schools in Makassar. Advancing Women in Leadership, 31(), 175-188.
Grogan, M. (2010). Conclusion: women around the world reshaping leadership for education. Journal of Educational Administration, 48(6), 782-786.
Ministry of Education. (2005). Teacher census. Retrieved from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/ublication/schooling/teachercensus.
Oplatka, I. (2006). Women in educational administration within developing countries: Towards a new international research agenda. Journal of Educational Administration, 44(6), 604-624. doi:
Pounder, J., & Coleman, M. (2002). Women- better leaders than men? In general and educational management it still “all depends”. Leadership and Organisational Development Journal, 23(3), 122-133.
Strachan, J. (1993). Including the personal and the profession. Gender and Education, 5(1), 71-80.
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