Tracing the career paths of female Superintendents in Canada
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The number of women in educational leadership positions has increasingly grown over the last few decades. However, there still are discrepancies between the number of women in education and the number of women represented in educational leadership, especially in the superintendency. The irony of this research is that professors in educational administration programs continually comment about a strong majority of their students being women. Furthermore, educational certification agencies report that the majority of those licensed for educational leadership positions are women. The purposes of the study was to: (a) provide opportunities for female senior administrators to offer their understanding of the barriers and challenges they have encountered during their career; (b) provide insight into the mentorship experiences and support they have received during their career; and, (c) describe their preferred/espoused leadership styles. Female superintendents identified a number of challenges over the course of their career: balancing career and home life, gender discrimination, various work conflicts and relocation. In contrast, the women in the study acknowledged the mentorship experiences and support that they received during their career from various professional colleagues or groups, educative institutions or programs, and family and friends. Their preferred leadership styles included a strong focus on relationships seconded by management and pedagogical issues. The study culminates by outlining various recommendations for practice, research and theory in chapter five.