Gender gaps in School administrative positions: a comparative study of school administrators in selected rural and urban schools in Chilanga District. a qualitative studyDY

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Chipeta, Luke
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The University of Zambia
Although there is government concern about women opportunities in formal education at all levels, the representation of women in school administrative positions is still inadequate as compared to men. Thus, this research work was a case study aimed at investigating gender gaps in school administrative positions in Chilanga district. Its main objective were to assess the gender gaps in school administrative positions with regards to rural and urban schools in Chilanga district. The literature reviewed showed the prevalence of gender gaps in education and their consequence on economic growth. The literature reviewed supports two obvious policy recommendations: increasing women‟s access to education and promote their participation in decision making positions, this includes administrative positions in education sector. Qualitative methods were used to collect and analyze data from 70 participants who were selected purposively and randomly. This included, the district education board secretary, 2 Senior Education Standard Officers (ESO), 2 top management officials from HR department, 20 school administrators, 5 PTA chairpersons, and 40 Teachers (20 males and 20 females) respectively. Data from one to one semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were thematically analysed. Presentations of the findings were done using tables, direct quotations and simple narrations. However, the findings of the study revealed that the current situation of gender gaps in administrative positions in both rural and urban schools was as a result of male dominance in administrative positions and qualities for school administrators. Motivation was found to be a leading factor in the current changes in gender gaps in school administrative positions. Gender roles, education qualification, socialisation, female self-perception and mentor role were revealed to be the factors leading to gender gaps in education. To reduce gender gaps in school administrative positions, the study recommended that; women share gender roles with their spouses in order to create more time for administrative duties, school administrators to allow more women to be involved in administrative work, female teachers to form professional networking clubs where they mentor each other in order to assist in confidence building, enhancing self-esteem and socialisation and policy makers to come up with a curriculum that include gender issues for the purpose of sensitizing the community on the social/cultural barriers which cause gender imbalance in education administration. Conclusively, it is hoped that with all the policies being implemented to enhance female participation in decision making positions, this study might contribute a lot in encouraging the women to have small size families and share family responsibility equally with their spouses in order to create ample time for their career progress. This can be done through family planning practices and campaigning for the same. This will reduce the gender gap that exist in terms of administrative positions in both rural and urban schools.
Gender gap , Gender roles