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An exploration of the influences of female underpresentation in senior leadership positions in community secondary schools (CSSs) in rural Tanzania

Mbepera, Joyce Germanus (2015) An exploration of the influences of female underpresentation in senior leadership positions in community secondary schools (CSSs) in rural Tanzania. PhD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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Abstract

This study explores the influences of female under-representation in senior leadership positions in community secondary schools in rural Tanzania. Key issues include factors contributing to women under-representation in leadership, the perceptions of members of school communities of women leaders and the challenges facing current women leaders that deter other women teachers from taking leadership posts. The empirical study included interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaires and involved 259 participants at schools and district level in one district in rural Tanzania. Twenty schools were involved and included 20 heads of schools, teachers, members of school boards, parents and a District Educational Officer. The empirical study found that, at the individual level, familial responsibilities and rejecting the post due to poor social services in rural areas deterred women from taking leadership posts. At the organisational level, the lack of transparent procedures for recommending, recruiting and appointing heads also contributed to poorer access by women. At the societal level, negative perceptions and stereotypes of female leaders, conservative expectations of women in the private domain rather than in professional and public roles, and deep-seated beliefs in some rural areas pertaining to issues such as witchcraft, at times resulted in physical risk and exploitation of female leaders. These proved to be strong barriers to leadership succession and resulted in on-going, significant challenges for incumbent female leaders. Overall, the study concludes that female under-representation in school leadership in rural Tanzania is influenced by a number of interrelated factors at the individual, societal and organisational level (Fagenson, 1990a), with dominant social norms and values having a cross-cutting influence on the access, experience and perceptions of female school leaders. The study thus suggests a number of measures for improving female representation in community secondary school leadership in Tanzania at the professional and personal development level, recruitment level and policy level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Departments > London Centre for Leadership in Learning
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 13:59
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2015 13:59
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