Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EDD)
College of Education
Women are underrepresented in K-12 educational leadership roles in public, independent, and international school settings. Numerous research studies have interviewed women who have attained leadership roles and documented the obstacles and enablers to success. Consistently, women indicate that gender bias, a lack of mentors, few role models, the challenge of work-life balance, and limited training programs and resources inhibited their progress. Conversely, when those barriers were removed, many were able to thrive as educational leaders.
This case study design explored the challenges and enablers perceived by current female educational leaders in attaining and thriving in an educational leadership role. Further, the study gathered feedback from current female educational leaders on the MNT2LEAD website, designed to serve as a “digital mentor,” closing a piece of the gap in support that exists for women aspiring to lead K-12 education. Through an online survey including a Likert scale and semi-structured questions administered to current female educational leaders, the research study answered the following two questions: What are the relevant personal experiences that enable some women to reach the pinnacle of their profession; and what pertinent components should be included in a website designed to assist aspiring female educational leaders to reach their career goals?
Survey responses were analyzed and thematically categorized. Enablers to success that emerged from participants’ personal experiences included: mentors and supportive supervisors, professional development and formal education, role models, and collaborative and collegial coworkers. Positive responses to the content, utility, and relevance of the MNT2LEAD website were evident from the research with over 90% indicating they would recommend the website to a colleague or friend. Further research is needed to explore women’s internal barriers to success and other non-traditional methods of mentorship and support.
Ecoff, Elise R., "Meant to Lead: Women, Equity, and Education" (2020). Graduate-Level Student Theses, Dissertations, and Portfolios. 352.