Challenges faced by female educators into principal positions in the Imbali Circuit.
Ngcobo, Fikile Bongi Hope.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate challenges faced by female educators into principal positions in high schools especially in the Imbali Circuit. The methodology used was qualitative. A case study method was adopted. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with the four female head of departments and four female deputy principals in four selected high schools. Four high schools in the Imbali Circuit were purposively selected for the study. The data gathered was transcribed, coded, organised into themes, categories and sub-categories. Finally, the data was analysed. The study was located in the feminist theory because what is happening in high schools today can be explained in terms of the assertions made in feminist theory. This theory provides an explanation as to why women are under-represented in leadership and management positions in high schools. Findings reveal that gender stereotypes, societal norms and cultural factors has a strong impact in the appointment of women in leadership and management positions of principals, because are rather based on the perception that women are viewed by someas being incapable of leading.On the other hand, the findings have revealed two set of groups; those who are positive about the outcome and those who are negative. Three participants indicated that though women are under-represented in principal positions in high schools but they are still positive and always willing to comply and accept the situation as it is. The study recommended opportunities for further research into gender issues in education which is an under-researched area as evidenced in the literature reviewed for this study. Again, it was recommended, based on the fact that most female educators in South Africa started their teaching careers during the apartheid era in which they pursued their careers in an environment that was influenced by gender segregation. This negative perception towards them still persists in the post-apartheid South Africa; therefore, there is a need to instil in them a positive mind set which is in line with democratic contemporary South Africa. This can be achieved through the intervention of the Department of Basic Education and ensure that the Gender Equity Act, the Constitution of South Africa (1996), the Employment of Educators Act, the Employment Equity Act, and the White Paper on Affirmative Action are referred to, to ensure fairness and equality in the appointment of candidates for principal positions.