Universal Journal of Management Vol. 12(1), pp. 1 - 10
DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2024.120101
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Perceived Promotional Possibilities of Female Women Principals in the South African Context

M Agenbag , BH Challens *, L van Jaarsveld
School for Professional Studies in Education, Faculty of Education, North-West University, South Africa


The gender gap in leadership positions is particularly noticeable in South African schools despite efforts to address gender imbalances. The shortage of female school principals, especially in secondary schools, is a major concern despite sufficient qualified female educators. The purpose of this study was to investigate the promotion opportunities and career paths of female principals at South African secondary schools as well as the aspect of challenges, stereotyping, social, and cultural factors as well as perceptions about themselves. A qualitative approach, within the interpretivist paradigm, was used to shed more light from a leadership point of view on the paths that the respective participants had to follow to finally be appointed. Data collection was done using semi-structured interviews with seven female principals. The data were transcribed and analyzed to give a reliable picture. An overview of female school leadership, as well as the paths that led there, was one of the themes of the study. Findings from this study showed that women do not necessarily have to possess masculine characteristics to take over the leadership of a school, but that their unique character traits are sufficient to benefit them in this regard. One of the biggest challenges detected was maintaining a balanced work and family life, which results in women sometimes not fulfilling their obligations properly. On the other hand, family obligations may be the reason why women decide against applying for a promotion. The study concluded that policies exist to govern or prevent prejudice but when not adhered to create an indictment towards the effectiveness of policymakers. Furthermore, existing policies and legislation are not applied strictly enough to ensure that women are indeed considered for leadership positions, which makes them feel let down by authorities. The study recommends that there should be more opportunities for women to apply for principal positions since South African education consists of more females than males.

Promotion Paths, Perceptions, Challenges, Female Principals, Secondary Schools

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] M Agenbag , BH Challens , L van Jaarsveld , "Perceived Promotional Possibilities of Female Women Principals in the South African Context," Universal Journal of Management, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 1 - 10, 2024. DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2024.120101.

(b). APA Format:
M Agenbag , BH Challens , L van Jaarsveld (2024). Perceived Promotional Possibilities of Female Women Principals in the South African Context. Universal Journal of Management, 12(1), 1 - 10. DOI: 10.13189/ujm.2024.120101.