Women in Educational Leadership: conceptualizing gendered perceptions in Tanzanian schools

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    Though evidence suggests that the proportion of women in management is increasing, doubts and prejudice regarding women’s leadership skills and ability still exist. The emergence of several initiatives in Tanzania such as the Women Education and Development (WED) organ in the early 1980s, whose main goal was to enhance gender equity in education have given rise to improved numbers of women in higher education and access to resources. However, such progress has not fully translated into future professional work settings, especially in areas such as educational leadership. The study examined existing perceptions on 20 women heads of schools in Tanzania and the effects this may have on their leadership. Twenty schools led by female principals were identified through purposive sampling and 6 teachers per school also participated. Two set of semi-structured questionnaire were administered, one targeting school principals and the other was for teachers. The evidence suggests that women leadership in schools faced opposition from paternalistic cultures as leadership was still seen in masculine terms. Perceptions still abound that women lack leadership skills. The study advanced a view that the valuing of diversity of leadership particularly gender inclusivity, was critical in educational organizations if a nation hoped to be successful in its developmental vision and goals.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-54
    JournalEducational Research International
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Women
    • Tanzania
    • school principals
    • education
    • leadership


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