Gender imbalances in positions of leadership at schools.
In South Africa women are grossly under-represented in educational management. This study reports on the possible reasons for gender imbalances in positions of leadership at schools. The study uses feminist theories as a lens to understand the various forces that give rise to gender imbalances in positions of leadership at schools. In order to arrive at an understanding of how women managers perceive their under-representation in school management, quantitative data was gathered from 53 women managers in the North Durban Region using the survey questionnaire. This data was used to provide the study with baseline information to pave the way for an in-depth qualitative study. As part of the qualitative study, four respondents were selected using the purposive sampling technique to provide rich data. The data was then collated with the intention of understanding possible reasons for gender imbalances from the perspective of women educators within a broad social, political and historical context. Evidence from the data reveals that while gender equity policies have signaled the need for social justice and transformation of management structures in schools, there appears to be a serious disjuncture between policy and practice. It is apparent that equity policies have failed to address the 'gendered' crisis at grassroots level. Men's dominance in educational management and the numerical marginalisation of women remains a hurdle. Data reveals that women are highly qualified, highly skilled and intrinsically motivated, and yet grossly under-represented in management structures in schools. The women managers in this study reflected on the gender stereotyping that pervades both their personal and professional roles. They recommend the creation of organisational cultures at schools that reflect a commitment to gender equity.