Challenges faced by female headteachers in the management of secondary schools: A case study of selected schools in Lyanshya District
Shimalungwe, Bibian N
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The purpose of this study was to investigate challenges that female head teachers face in the management of selected schools in Luanshya district and to suggest ways to cope with these challenges to ensure maximizing women's potential in their leadership abilities. The objectives were: To explore challenges female school head teachers face as they execute their duties; to determine if head teachers received adequate training to enable them manage their schools and to establish the strategies employed by female head teachers to cope with the challenges they face as they manage their respective schools. This research employed a descriptive research design that used a qualitative approach. The target population comprised female head teachers, teachers and pupils from the selected schools of Luanshya district in Zambia. The sample consisted of 4 female head teachers, 2 district standard officers who were purposively selected and 48 teachers and 32 pupils who were randomly selected. This brought the total sample size to 86. Semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and a questionnaire were used to collect data from the field. The data was analysed thematically based on the research objectives. The findings revealed that the challenges the female head teachers faced included: negative attitudes from stakeholders; staff resistance; gender bias; sex role stereotyping and prejudice; alleged deceit in marriage; lack of confidence; uncontrolled emotions and dealing with role conflict. The study also revealed that most head teachers didn't receive adequate preparation for their leadership position as well as adequate in-service training to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to successfully manage their schools. Furthermore the study revealed that female head teachers used participatory and transformational styles of leadership to cope with institutional, socio-cultural and psychological challenges. Guidance and counseling also helped the female head teachers to cope with the challenges. To cope with dual responsibility challenges female head teachers employed house maids to assist them with domestic work and sometimes received assistance from other family members. Delegating their official duties to their subordinates also helped them cope with role conflict challenges. Basing on these findings the researcher proposed that: the MoGE should avail funds to sponsor female head teachers to educational management training to equip them with leadership skills that would enable them handle the challenges they are likely to face since gender issues are incorporated in such programs.