Women principals in small schools in South Africa

Lumby, Jacky and Azaola, Marta Cristina (2011) Women principals in small schools in South Africa. Australian Journal of Education, 55, (1), 73-85.


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South Africa presents a distinctive and varied context in which to explore the experience of women principals. The article draws on a larger dataset to explore the interplay of gender and school size in seven schools with 200 learners or fewer. From this study, we conclude that gender remains a potent influence on the career and experience of women, but that it is influenced by other factors such as poverty, race, language and the size of the school. Small schools offer women a less competitive path to the principalship, but may also maroon them in a low-paid, low-status and extremely challenging role. In this context some women attempt to neutralise gender by denying its impact; others try to unsettle it by creating social capital from female attributes stereotypically viewed as limiting, such as a maternal approach to leadership. They may thereby only embed further the negative view of women’s leadership capacity.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0004-9441 (print)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness
ePrint ID: 180535
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2011Published
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2011 15:40
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:35
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/180535

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