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Gender and Leadership in Education

Women Achieving Against the Odds

Kay Fuller and Judith Harford

The under-representation of women in leadership positions in educational settings is a widely acknowledged, complex phenomenon that seems to persist, despite the fact that teaching as a profession is dominated by women. Over recent decades, scholars have investigated the factors contributing towards this under-representation, with a particular focus on the personal, organisational and social/cultural levels.

This volume has been compiled in honour of Marianne Coleman, Emeritus Reader in Educational Leadership and Management at the Institute of Education, University College London. She is widely regarded as one of the most significant scholars globally in the field of gender and educational leadership, forging the research agenda and mentoring some of the scholars who contribute essays here. Amongst the key questions the book asks are: Why does society continue to accept male leaders as the norm? What barriers do women who seek leadership positions face? What supports do women require in order to encourage them to pursue leadership positions? How do women working in leadership positions conceive of their role as leaders? How might women’s educational leadership be best supported at an institutional level?

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A Festschrift for Marianne Coleman (Kay Fuller and Judith Harford)

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Kay Fuller and Judith Harford A Festschrift for Marianne Coleman The under-representation of women in leadership positions in educational settings is a widely acknowledged, complex phenomenon. This persists, despite the fact that teaching as a profession is dominated by women. Over recent decades, scholars have interrogated this phenomenon with a view to identifying the factors that have contributed to the under-representation of women in leadership positions in education, with a particular focus on the personal, organisational and social/cultural levels. Leadership, Coleman (2011: 37) contends, ‘is a very gendered concept. In a wide variety of cul- tural contexts, leadership continues to be identified with the male. Even though women occupy positions of leadership and responsibility, there is a tendency to assume that the rightful leader is male.’ Reay and Ball (2000: 145) suggest that ‘management is commonly conceptualized as ‘masculine’, concerned with ‘male qualities of rationality and instrumentality.’ They go on to note that in such contexts, women are ‘more like men than men themselves’ (ibid.). Blackmore (2002) also notes the deeply rooted belief that leadership is a male construct. This accepted norm, she argues, discour- ages women from pursuing a career in educational leadership as ‘it takes an extraordinary woman to do what an ordinary man does’ (ibid.: 56). The idea for this book first emerged following the launch of the British Educational Leadership Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group at the Institute of Education in London in April 2013. Marianne Coleman pre- sented on...

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