Gender and Leadership Development

Authored by: Marianne Coleman , Tanya Fitzgerald

International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders

Print publication date:  July  2008
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415988476
eBook ISBN: 9780203872239
Adobe ISBN: 9781135277017

10.4324/9780203872239.ch7

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Abstract

The focus of this chapter is the relationship between gender and the development of school leaders. While we recognize that gender issues are the concern of women and men, our focus is mainly on women as leaders and managers and the extent to which leadership development programs and initiatives do/do not situate gender as a core concern. Although the rhetoric might suggest that equity and equitable practices are embedded in organizations, recent research has highlighted the extent to which trends and stereotypes regarding women and men as leaders in education remain (Coleman, 2007; Shakeshaft et al. 2007). Primarily, in this chapter we draw attention to the persistent and continuing ‘problem’ of women’s under representation in educational leadership and the multiple cultural, social and structural barriers that exist for women relative to their male colleagues. In particular, we highlight that formal and informal leadership development programs reinforce these gendered barriers precisely because little attention is paid to women’s ways of knowing and leading (Blackmore, 1999). What appears to be uncompromising is that models of leadership implicitly draw on hegemonic male images of what it means to be a leader and act in a leadership role (Fitzgerald, 2003). These hegemonic images and values may then be used to implicitly and explicitly judge all those who do not match up to them, both women and men.

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