Female teachers ask for work/family reconciliation to be able to access management posts

March 9, 2010
Female teachers ask for work/family reconciliation to be able to access management posts. Credit: SINC

A research team made up of various Andalusian universities and coordinated by the University of Huelva (UHU) has concluded that the main barrier that these professionals encounter when accessing management roles is the lack of policies for reconciling work and family life. Only 38.6% of management positions in Andalusian centres for pre-school and Primary education are occupied by women, compared with 61.4% by men.

According to figures from the Ministry of Education for 2009-2010, in there are 230,288 female and 64,152 male pre-school and Primary school teachers.

"Despite this vast majority and that the requirements for accessing management positions are the same, in Andalusia more than half of these educational centres (61.4%) are directed by men" José Manuel Coronel, main author of the study and researcher in UHU, declares to SINC.

The piece of work, that is published this month in the journal Gender Work and Organization, focuses on the barriers that female head teachers have encountered when accessing management roles in pre-school and Primary education centres in Andalusia.

To carry out the study, Coronel and his team contacted educational centres and made a representative sample of female head teachers of schools. "206 female teachers responded to the survey which makes up 58% of the whole sample", the author explains.

This questionnaire, which was concluded in 2005, includes demographic information, general opinions on management, the factors blocking access to management roles and a final section of observations from responses "in open answer format".

The main barrier that the women interviewed described is related to the incompatibility of work and family life. "The figures prove that the family work conflict is still present when women consider management positions", the researcher points out.

Around 68% of the women interviewed have children older than 12 years, "which indicates that they have the inconvenience of having to wait until their children grow up before they can be promoted", Coronel notes.

In this sense, female head teachers are missing the support of specific policies for reconciling family and work life, at a general level and more specifically by the educational administration.

Study plans lack training in management

Another of the barriers is related to the organisational culture of schools, "in particular, with the male oriented management culture and the scarce valuation of management work compared to teaching work", Coronel points out.

The experts state that although the women interviewed know the school and have broad experience in teaching when they gain admittance to the post of directors, they keep asking for initial and permanent training to be better equipped to perform management activity.

"In this sense, female teachers find themselves with the issue that they are trained for teaching, but not for management, and if this is added to the fact that management is considered 'masculine', they can even be rejected by their own colleagues", explains the researcher.

Explore further: Negotiating through the glass ceiling

Related Stories

Negotiating through the glass ceiling

June 25, 2008

There are fewer women than men involved in high-profile international business deals. But that may change with the results of a new Tel Aviv University study on the role of gender in management, which found that women may ...

Teacher talk strains voices, especially for women

October 26, 2009

Teachers tend to spend more time speaking than most professionals, putting them at a greater risk for hurting their voices -- they're 32 times more likely to experience voice problems, according to one study. And unlike singers ...

Few professionals keep current

February 22, 2010

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Boras in Sweden have looked at how professionals in different occupational groups seek and use information and keep updated after finishing their education. ...

Recommended for you

The hand and foot of Homo naledi

October 6, 2015

The second set of papers related to the remarkable discovery of Homo naledi, a new species of human relative, have been published in scientific journal, Nature Communications, on Tuesday, 6 October 2015.

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...

Chimpanzees shed light on origins of human walking

October 6, 2015

A research team led by Stony Brook University investigating human and chimpanzee locomotion have uncovered unexpected similarities in the way the two species use their upper body during two-legged walking. The results, reported ...

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.