The Perceptions of Female School Leaders of the Obstacles and Enablers that Affected Their Career Paths to Educational Administration
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 1 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-1-January-2006
In 1909 Ella Flagg Young, the first female superintendent of Chicago Public Schools, predicted that
more women than men would be at the helm of most twentieth century school systems. Young’s
prediction emanated from a belief, held by other influential leaders of her time, that teaching was a
woman’s natural vocation, for it advanced a woman’s maternal instincts of caretaking and nurturing.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, her prediction has not been fulfilled. Almost a
hundred years after Young’s prediction, less than five percent of public school superintendents are
women and less than twenty-seven percent of public secondary school principals are women (Digest of
Educational Statistics, 2004). Despite the fact that teaching has remained a feminized profession,
educational administration continues to be dominated by males (Glazer, 1991), making this disparity
one of education’s most challenging issues.
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