When the Headmaster is a Woman: Challenges of Negotiating School Culture in South African Public Schools (73165)

Session Information: Primary & Secondary Education
Session Chair: Mapula Mabusela

Friday, 22 September 2023 16:50
Session: Session 4
Room: Nova Icaria
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

This study reports on the findings of a qualitative case study conducted in the Northwest province in South Africa. The purpose of the study was to understand how female principals negotiate school culture within schools. Cultures are characterised by aspects such as different behaviours, communication styles, norms, slogans and ceremonies. The argument in this study is that female principals have challenges in negotiating school culture. Women are marginalised due to their gender and have to overcome obstacles to lead the way where stakeholders need to be involved in decision-making processes. Studies demonstrate that the school culture domain is a male-dominated field locally and internationally. Due to the exclusion and underrepresentation of women prevalent in this arena, it is difficult for them to practise as core partners. Data collection employed the use of face-to-face semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis. The sample consisted of three purposively selected women principals from different categories of schools in South Africa. Findings revealed that women still face various challenges in their endeavours to negotiating school culture. These are challenges such as resistance from stakeholders, gossip, cliques, disrespect and isolation, problem-saturated conversations, political realities, lack of resources and hectic schedules. The recommendation is that the Department of Education should provide constant and sustainable support to empower women with the necessary skills to survive in their role as leaders.

Authors:
Mapula Mabusela, University of South Africa, South Africa


About the Presenter(s)
Dr Mapula Mabusela is a University Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at University of South Africa in South Africa

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00