Academic journal article International Education Studies

Challenges Facing Women Academic Leadership in Secondary Schools of Irbid Educational Area

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Challenges Facing Women Academic Leadership in Secondary Schools of Irbid Educational Area

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aimed at identifying the challenges facing women academic leadership in secondary schools of Irbid Educational Area. A random sample of 187 female leaders were chosen. They responded to a 49-item questionnaire prepared by the researcher. The items were distributed into four domains: organizational, personal, social and physical challenges. The study concluded that the women academic leaders are facing challenges between medium and high levels. In addition, there is no difference attributed to the job position in all domains, except for the physical challenges in favor for the principals. There were differences attributed to the academic qualification in all the domains in favor of those who hold BA degrees or higher, except for the organizational challenges domain. Finally, there were no differences related to the years of experience in all domains. The study recommended setting up developmental programs for the women's academic leaders.

Keywords: challenges, leadership, women's leadership, schools, Irbid

1. Introduction

Several studies ascertained the woman's eligibility and her professional and leadership efficiency, which, sometimes, override that of the man. Yet, the occupational and leadership status of the woman is still suffering a wide gap, as there is unequal representation in the administrative and leadership positions between men and women, which became clear in many countries, particularly in Arab countries (Al-Shihabi & Mohammad, 2001). Yang (1998) assured that the rate of women assuming higher leadership positions is not more than (3%) in the United States and not more than 6% in the United Kingdom. Hynowitz and Schellhardt (1986) further assure this, in what they termed the "Glass Ceiling", signaling the existence of barriers that prevent the advancing to higher leadership positions.

Women's leadership in educational institutions requires a humanitarian interaction process between all the parties to working in the enterprise, in addition to achieving inclusive institutional objectives. The woman faces many challenges that stand in the way of her success in leadership. In addition to the negative beliefs about the woman's leadership and her feminine nature, which creates the type of problems and difficulties preventing her progress and development in terms of administration and leadership (Al-Shaddi, 2010).

The idea of recognizing the challenges facing women's academic leadership in the secondary schools of Irbid Educational Area, Jordan, was formed because of some conferences held in the Arab countries about the woman and leadership. For instance, the Second Arab Woman Summit Conference held in Jordan in 2002, provided for: defining a strategy for the advancement of Arab woman; and giving her an effective role in the development of the community.

The first conference, held in the State of Kuwait in 2010 under the slogan "Women and the Renaissance of the Nation", also indicated that women have an effective role and wide participations in leading several community institutions to success, even though there are many pressures and obstacles standing in their ways for the continuity of the institutional work and assuming them leadership positions. Among the other concerns of the UNIFEM and UNICEF (2002) were eliminating all forms of prejudice and discrimination against women, especially in assuming administrative leaderships in community institutions, particularly the educational, in preservation of the woman's rights and her role in the inclusive development.

The issue of the woman, her education and role in the community institutions, particularly the educational, is still under study and interest of the literature and fields of thought by the writers and researchers in the leadership domain. Hill and Ragland (1995) examined treatment of the traditional barriers against the women's rising and taking charge of significant leadership positions in the different educational levels. …

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