Factors Affecting Women’s Participation in Educational Leadership in Ethiopia

Hussein Kedir Kelil, Messeret Assefa

Abstract


The purpose of this research was to assess the major factors that affect women to acquire educational leadership positions in the context of Ethiopia. It was also aimed at assessing the existence of enabling environment, the extent to which gender politics has created inequality in taking educational leadership positions. A concurrent mixed research approach was employed in this study. Questionnaire, interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis were used as instruments of data collection. Among others, educational officials, policy makers, school principals and key experts were consulted in this study. It was found that, the existing political environment and policies are enabling. The ability of women to plan, organize resources and activities, create smooth communication, make sound decisions and control the entire organization, women’s ability to delegate authority and responsibilities, coordinate efforts, mobilize resources, allocate budget and use resources were all found functional. On the other hand,  the level of policy implementation, clarities of standards, women's claim for leadership positions, the culture of educational institutions in nominating women to leadership positions, the level of affirmative action in place, the degree to which rules and regulations support women for leadership, clarity of targets and strategies, the politics of gender in favor of male as well as the transparencies in place were found low and fragile. The current prevailing organizational culture, the established norms and procedures, women's fitness to a field work and lack of women’s capacity, attitudinal and socio- cultural factors were reported among the major factors the hinders to come to educational leadership positions. Astoundingly, the attitude of women towards themselves to assume leadership position was found frail. Worse than this, the social and cultural attitudes toward women leadership, the prevailing gender politics in favor of male (culturally deep rooted), informal relationship (groups), lack of confidence (fragile self-image), low capacity (qualification, experience, skills), fear of criticism, absence of sufficient support, absence of role models, high burden of home responsibilities, sexual harassment, religious influences, cultural believes, economic challenges (dependency), the interest of their partner (husband) and the negative feelings /male dominated gender politics/ were found daunting hindrances. It is suggested the national and local level authorities should re-visit policies, guidelines, rules, and regulations primed and thereby insist their actual implementations. They should also create more appealing (workable) structures or make the existing structures more autonomous, transparent, attractive and encouraging for women to come to educational leadership positions on top giving them extra opportunities for better capacity as they should assume positions owing to their capacity and competence. 


Keywords


Leadership, Educational Leadership, Implementation,

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