Speed bumps and l-plates: Female deputy principals' perceptions of the barriers in aspiring to principalship
Neidhardt, C. (2009). Speed bumps and l-plates: Female deputy principals’ perceptions of the barriers in aspiring to principalship (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4314
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4314
The majority of New Zealand's teaching workforce is female. In leadership positions,women outnumber men in the deputy principal role, yet are significantlyunderrepresented in principalship. How do women themselves explain this leadershipdisparity? This small-scale qualitative research study explores the perceived barriersin aspiring to principalship that are held by female deputy principals in the primarysector. It utilises semi-structured interviews to gather data from seven female deputyprincipals in primary schools in the Bay of Plenty. Data is analysed thematically inorder to extrapolate the significant barriers identified by the participants.While international academic literature has acknowledged the disproportional genderrepresentation within principalship and identified potential factors, the New Zealandresearch base is still limited. Further research into the barriers facing femaleleadership may benefit future female aspiring principals in New Zealand by providingan awareness of the potential challenges and offer possible strategies to contend withthe identified barriers.The research findings indicate a common set of factors perceived to pose barriers towomen aspiring to principalship. These include: the impact of gender, the evolvingrole of principalship, the demands of management versus leadership, the maintenanceof work/life balance, familial obligations, participant's self perceptions and the desirefor a best fit school as a first time principal.This study suggests that further professional support structures and leadershipdevelopment opportunities be created to respond to the specific needs of aspiringfemale principals. The provision of targeted programmes would go some waytowards addressing the barriers identified by participants and ensuring the promotionand cultivation of aspiring female leaders that is necessary to sustain futureeducational leadership in New Zealand primary schools.
The University of Waikato
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