A case study of factors influencing gender representation patterns in educational leadership positions in High Schools in Phokeng Area
Mautle, Herman Boiki
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This study seeks to investigate factors influencing gender representation patterns in educational leadership positions in high schools around Phokeng. In South Africa and some other countries, teaching in schools remains a profession where women are highly represented, but women continue to be under-represented in educational leadership p9sitions. Male over-representation in the leadership and management of educational institutions is internationally known and documented and persists despite the availability and implementation of gender equity acts and policies. The study used the case study approach, underpinned by feminist theory to investigate factors that influence gender representation patterns in high schools around Phokeng. Semi-structured interviews and open-ended, qualitative questionnaires were used to collect data. A total of 12 purposefully selected participants were included in the study: four principals, four deputy principals and four heads of departments. Data was collected on the following areas: The nature and extent of gender representation patterns in educational leadership positions; possible reasons for the current gender representation patterns in educational leadership positions in high schools in areas around Phokeng; strategies that can be applied to address the current gender representation patterns in order to suit gender equity concerns in education. The findings reveal that women represent a high percentage of employees of the education system, but women continue to be under-represented in educational leadership positions. Furthermore, the study found that gender stereotypes, family responsibilities, low self-image and self-esteem as well as lack of confidence are some of the reasons for under-representation of women in educational leadership positions. The investigation also established that the implementation of the Employment Equity Act and similar policies should be intensified in all educational institutions as one of the strategies to close the gap of under-representation of women in educational leadership positions. The main recommendations emanating from the study are that women teachers need training to equip them with appropriate knowledge and skills; therefore they should be capacitated to improve their self-image, self-esteem and should acquire strategies to balance their family responsibilities with their work life. In that case, society can improve its perception about women, practical affirmative action strategies could be employed to improve the representation of women in educational leadership and to promote non-discriminatory working relationships and respect for diversity in a job situation.
- Education