n South African Journal of Education - Creating linkages between private and public : challenges facing woman principals in South Africa

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



In trying to understand some of the gendered discourses that shape the management of schools as organisations in South Africa, I analyse woman principals' experiences as they try to navigate a balance between their home and work responsibilities. After their appointment as principals, some South African women face difficulties in striking the balance between work and family. Available literature suggests that balancing private and public life for working women with families can be taxing, especially for married women. Reasons for this include the cultural expectation, which suggests that women, regardless of whether they are in employment or not, or whether they employ a domestic helper or not, should still perform family chores in the home. The traditional stereotypes also associate school principalship with masculinity, a view that hampers women's career progression in education management. I identify some of the gendered social practices that disadvantage women and suggest that these need to be challenged in order to achieve gender equity in education management. I further suggest an urgent need for research informed by feminist theories and examine gender inequity issues in schools in South Africa within the current political, social, and cultural frameworks.

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