The gendered perceptions of women in management positions in a primary school in the KwaDukuza (Lower Tugela) region.
This study explores how women in management are perceived especially in a Kwa-Dukuza Lower Tugela primary school (with the pseudonym, Mbonisweni). Mhonisweni is situated 5 kilometers away from my school. I was motivated to conduct this study by the negative perceptions of women in management positions that I detected in my own school (with the pseudonym, Vela). Vela is a new primary school, which was established as a result of overcrowding at Siyathuthuka senior primary school, which was at first a combined primary school. I was interested to see if a similar situation pertained at Mbonisweni and to find out what might he the reasons for any negative perception of women managers. Data for this study was collected through semi-structured interviews with eight educators from Mbonisweni Primary, including the principal of the school, 4 management team members and the 4 educators (two females and two males). The study found that evidence of some negativity towards the school principal and in some cases such negativity was based on gender stereotyped attitudes. The situation was not, however, simple. Prior to conducting the research I had anticipated that there might be strong support from female HODs and educators for the female principal (manager) but this was not uniformly the case nor was it the case that all males in the study were opposed to the female manager. The situation was more complex. Three quarters of the males interviewed supported the female management although their support did not mean that male teachers were in necessarily in favour of gender equity more broadly nor did it preclude some men from expressing view that could be seen as sexist. While three quarters of the females interviewed also supported the female management it was clear that no encompassing bond of sisterhood exited by which women automatically supported the females in the school's management team.