Women Principals' Career Paths: Difficulties, Barriers

Women Principals' Career Paths: Difficulties, Barriers

Bilgen Kıral (Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7772-0.ch014
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The managerial career has always been perceived as a man's realm, but this perception is changing. It is the same for schools like other organizations. The number of women principals is increasing, and perceptions are changing in a way that women can also take up such positions. However, women teachers face more difficulties and barriers compared to men when they take up an administrative career. This chapter looks into the career planning and pre-career process of women school principals, their stages of the career development, the barriers and difficulties they encounter during the career development, and the strategies they employ to cope with them within the framework of the career construction theory.
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Career is one of the concepts that both researchers and practitioners have explored from past to present. Traditionally, career is defined as individual’s moving up to the hierarchical ladder of business life to gain high earnings and status (Baruch, 2006); employees’ experiences in organizations and development process as a result of their studies (Baruch & Rosenstein, 1992). Since the middle of 20th century, concepts such as professional identity, career, career planning and career development have been used along with the foreground of the concept of profession (Savickas et al., 2009). An individual's career takes place in an organization in which he or she works. While the individual works within the organization, he both affects the organization and is influenced by its organization. This is very important in career construction. Career construction is a series of stages (Baruch, 2004). While the individual creates a career, he plans his career, manages it and reaches a conclusion. Career planning is the individual career process of a person, such as searching for a job, experiencing work life, having an occupation, and developing professionally on his career path. Career management involves a number of processes, such as identifying career paths providing promotion in the organization in which the individual is working, having and implementing plans for career advancement (Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2008). The theory developed by Super is called as career development theory (Super, 1955). Savickas (2002) has improved career construction theory by examining the previous studies.

The personal factors, such as gender, have a great influence on an individual's career construction because of the social inequality between men and women. Occupations, sex-typed as safe for women by the society, cause women to be more backward-looking, especially when they construct a career. These are called career barriers and prevent women from moving up to executive positions (Wentling & Thomas, 2007). Career barriers are very important factors affecting an individual's career construction and continuation. One or more of these barriers affects individual's getting a job, succeeding in a job and especially moving up to higher positions by demoralizing her. It is obvious that women have risen up in a variety of business lines; but there are a number of difficulties and barriers to their career creation.

In this section, the career planning and selection process before the beginning of the school management career, the stages of the career construction, the difficulties they encountered during the career construction, and the barriers and the strategies for the women principals to overcome the barriers will be explained in the framework of the career construction theory put forward by Savickas (2002).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Career Planning: Career planning is everything the one does to advance in his/her professional career.

Career Barriers: It is the difficulties and obstacles that individuals face during their careers or pre-careers.

Coping Strategies With Career Barriers: It is the methods, techniques and strategies to cope with the career barriers faced by individuals.

Career: Career is advancement of individual’s pre-vocational, vocational, and post-vocational process due to his/her success.

Career Stages: They are the stages that individuals have gone through in their careers.

Women Principals: Women principals are female executives in public schools.

Career Construction Theory: The theory is developed by Savickas that shows how individuals understand their careers and how they adapt their careers to their lives.

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