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Leadership challenges facing female school principals in the Durban (INK) area.

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The realisation of the fundamental ideals of the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996), outlined in the South African National Framework for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality, provides a vision of gender equality within all sectors’ structures, institutions, procedures, practices and government programmes. The framework sets out the goals of achieving gender equality, guided by a human rights vision that incorporates acceptance of the equal and inalienable rights of all women and men. Since 1994, South Africa has made some improvements in advancing women into leadership positions within different sectors and institutions. In the Department of Education in South Africa, in particular, females have advanced to positions of leadership as principals of schools, although their numbers remain disproportionally low. This study was conducted in Durban at Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) area, where females attempting to advance to leadership positions had to deal not only with the complexities and challenges inherent in schools, but did so in a society entrenched with a patriarchal culture that continuously places constraints on the advancement of females to higher positions of leadership. The aim of the study was to examine the leadership challenges that female principals face in leading and managing schools in the Durban INK area. Various literature pertinent to leadership was consulted to provide a deeper level of understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of leadership in relation to schools, and what had already been researched on female school leadership challenges was considered. A qualitative research approach was employed, which incorporated purposive sampling. Data were collected through semi-structured, face-to-face interviews conducted with fifteen female school principals in the Durban INK area and were analysed thematically. The findings of the study were critical to establish the contribution and responsibilities of stakeholders in ensuring that female principals were given the same recognition and respect as men. The study concluded by recommending future studies on the effect made by Female Principals Support Programme (FPSP), the effect and contribution of labour unions and SGBs in the employment process of school leaders.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville.