Staffroom sexism

2008-07-16 00:00

A recent study conducted on the experiences of women principals in KwaZulu-Natal secondary schools showed that pro-gress is being made in terms of transforming the gender picture in the management of schools. The number of women in the management of schools is increasing. According to the Provincial Department of Education (2005), women are more visible at lower levels of management as they comprise 66% of heads of department. But the picture is different higher up the promotion ladder as women deputy principals and principals only make up 41% and the majority of these are in the primary schools. The position of being a school principal is dominated by men (59%) yet they comprise only 31% of the provincial teaching population.

The study revealed that firstly, most women who participated in the study became principals by default rather than by design. These women did not set out to become principals, and without any training, the only preparation they had was through experience. Most of them were persuaded to apply for the position of principal because when the posts became vacant they were either the most experienced teacher in the school or the next in authority and would have to acquire more experience when in the post.

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