The second way is that of leadership for social justice as ‘women, more than men, identify educational careers as social justice work, even if they don’t use that explicit language’ (p.11). This approach links to the third way identified as spiritual leadership: ‘if change to bring about greater social justice is the end product for many women, then hope, spirituality, and belief in God is the motor that propels many of them to change the system’; (p.13) which opens up the possibilities of exploring the intersection between gender and the religious and/or spiritual beliefs.
The fourth way of leadership for learning relates to the importance women place on the practice of teaching and education compared with those leaders who see schools as a site for developing their power over others and view teaching as something to be endured briefly before rising to positions of power (see also Brunner and Grogan, 2007). Balanced leadership is the fifth way which celebrates the experience and skills involved in caring for a family and running a house, so often categorised as women’s work, as bringing a positive dimension to women making them better leaders. Rather than characterising caring as a distraction, the balance women seek in their work-related and home-related responsibilities becomes a positive part of leadership as, ‘Although women leaders in the twenty-first century are clearly free to choose to concentrate on work in the same way a man does, many prefer to attain a balance between their work lives and their family lives’ (p.23).
The authors acknowledge a debate which wonders if women are forced, as opposed to choosing, to use collaborative and shared ways of leadership because of a ‘lack of power’ relative to that accorded to the male gender. Yet they conclude that women school leaders do not have to ape the traditional male leader stereotypes and that, in order to be truly successful in promoting education and social justice, they can be true to themselves.