Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Gender Equity in Educational Administration: Investigating Compensation and Promotion

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Gender Equity in Educational Administration: Investigating Compensation and Promotion

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. A pending shortage in the position of public school superintendent is predicted due to retirements and the new accountability standards for public schools. This study was designed to contribute to the body of educational literature in regards to gender differences faced by school superintendents in regards to compensation, promotion track and performance evaluation. The first research question, explored the possibility of continued issues with the gender pay gap for superintendents. The second research question explored the career path of superintendents examining the gender specific paths of women through the elementary principalship and men through the secondary principalship. A survey developed in 2004 by Montz was administered to a stratified random sample of female and male superintendents across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Demographic variables of age, race, marital status, education, district typology and alary were collected. Significant findings and implications for educational leaders are discussed.

Keywords: compensation, promotion, gender equity, career path

1. Introduction

The most powerful and influential position in a school district is the school superintendent. This position has been predominately held by males. Though women have made great strides, the percentages of women in the top seat of the nation's school districts is the same in 2000 as it was a century ago (Techniques, 2000). The research supports a current percentage of female superintendents to be in the range from 12% to 22%. According to Glass (2000), of the 13,728 school superintendents in the United States, 11,744 are men and 1,984 are women. Data from a study conducted by Glass and Franceschini (2007) indicated that the percentage of female superintendents nationwide increased from approximately 12% in the late 1990s to 22% in 2006. While this statistic is encouraging, it in no way means that the inequity in the gender of superintendents has been solved. Women have a long way to go to achieve parity, equal number of male and female superintendents, in this leadership role. At the current rate of increase, it will not be until the year 2035 that we will see a 50-50-gender ratio in superintendents (Derrington & Sharratt, 2009).

Historically, women have been the majority in the education workforce. "In studying the history of women in the superintendency, Blount found that in 1910, approximately 9% of the school superintendents were women and this increased to 11% in 1930" (as cited in Sharp, Malone, Walter, & Supley, 2004, p. 4). Women had earned the right to vote in 1920, and feminist groups were promoting equality for all women. However, some women earned these positions because there were no men available due to the war or they were hired because they could be paid significantly less (Shakeshaft, 1989). Women in the superintendency declined back down to 9% in 1950 as it had been in 1910. They hit an all time low in 1971 of 1.3% (Bjork, 2000). The percentage of women superintendents remained in a range less than ten percent until the 1990s when it doubled from 6.6% to 13.2% (Glass, 2000).

According to Sharp, Malone, Walter, and Supley (2004), three different models have been offered to explain the low numbers of women in the superintendency.

* The first perspective is from the psychological point of view. Estler (1975) coined it the meritocracy model while Shakeshaft (1989) refers to it as the blame the victim perspective. The crux of this perspective is that the most competent people will be promoted, so if women have a "defect" they must deal with their problem in order to be promoted.

* The second perspective centers on the notion that there are a limited number of opportunities for women. Estler (1975) refers to this as the discrimination model. According to this perspective, there are structural and systemic barriers that work against the advancement of all candidates who are not White males. …

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