The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) asked the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) to provide an overview of the research literature on barriers and supports for women to succeed in secondary school leadership. The PPTA plan to use this review to help shape future work to address gender-based inequities. The Gender Pay Gap and Pay Equity Taskforce | Te Rōpū Mahi Rerekētanga Utu Ira Tangata me te Whakaōrite Utu is providing general momentum for such work.1
The overview questions
The following questions framed this overview of the available research:
- The current state—What do we know about women in secondary school leadership and their pathways to and through positional leadership roles?
- Barriers—What are the barriers to women being in positional leadership roles in secondary schools? Why are women 63% of the secondary teaching workforce, but only 37% of secondary school principals?
- Supports and enablers—What policies and practices have been identified to better support women’s pathways into and through positional leadership roles in secondary schools?
There are three sections in this report, one for each of the overarching questions.
Our approach to leadership in this review
The Teaching Council’s Educational Leadership Strategy (Education Council, 2018a) takes a broad view of leadership, encompassing positional and non-positional leadership roles. The strategy defines educational leadership as “the practice of supporting others to make a positive difference to children’s and young people’s learning” (p. 8). We brought this broad lens to the review, but focused particularly on women in positional leadership roles.