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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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Diversity and Education in England (Victoria Showunmi)


Victoria Showunmi Diversity and Education in England Introduction Population structures of schools and school communities, particularly in urban Europe, have been changing over the last few decades in the context of globalisation, eco-political developments and increased mobility. In the United Kingdom, the increasing diversity of the population is generally perceived as affecting schools’ overall performance through the low achieve- ment of children from many Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups and communities. This association between under-achievement and ethnicity, race, social class, gender or other variables is often highlighted by statistics, and emphasised in the literature, conveniently relieving the educational structures and professionals of the burden of responsibility (Tomlinson 1991; Abbas 2006). However, research has produced varied and even con- flicting evidence with regard to a direct link between achievement and fac- tors such as ethnicity, socio-economic background, population mix, gender and the use of English as a second language (Kincheloe and Steinberg 2007; Office for National Statistics 2004; OFSTED 2004), which has added to the complexity of the challenges faced by today’s schools. In my contribution to the collection of chapters in celebration of Marianne Coleman’s work, I wanted to start with a short dialogue that gives the reader an insight into why I agreed to write this chapter. I remember a conversation I had with Marianne a few weeks after arriving at the Institute of Education (now UCL IOE) in 2008. At the time, I was located in the London Centre for Leadership and Learning (LCLL) as a Regional...

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