Management experiences of two women principals in high schools at Obonjeni District in KwaZulu-Natal.
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of women principals in high schools when executing their management functions at Obonjeni District. It is hoped that the study would contribute to the understanding of the challenges woman principals encounter on their work and how they dealt with them. The methodology used was qualitative. A case study method was adopted. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with two school principals, two deputy principals and four heads of department in two selected high schools. Documentary analysis was used to triangulate data obtained through the interviews. Two high schools at Obonjeni District were purposively selected for the study. The data gathered was transcribed, coded, organised into themes, categories and sub-categories. Finally, the data was analysed using content analysis technique. The study was located in feminist theory; this is because what is happening in high schools today can be explained in terms of assertions made in feminist theory. This theory provides an explanation as to why women are under-represented in management positions. Findings indicate that staff members that were of the view that women principals were incapable of leading based this view on gender stereotypes, societal norms and cultural factors. Furthermore, some staff members view female principals as capable of managing and providing effective leadership in high schools. The study also revealed that women principals experience challenges, but despite them, they managed to perform their official duties effectively and also provided good leadership quality in these schools. The study recommended that in-service training, sufficient workshops and seminars must be organised to empower women in leadership positions. Again, it was recommended that women principals must avail themselves with numerous educational opportunities to upgrade their knowledge.