Overview of Findings.
The key findings and implications which emerge indicate that intentions appear to be ‘good’ in the education sector. However, the concerns and problems previously identified seem not to have gone away despite the implementation of a number of ‘technical solutions’.
Theme 1: The representation of women within the leadership structures.
In the education sector, an increasing number of women are represented within leadership structures. However, they remain disproportionately small in number compared to those in the overall workforce. Solutions and initiatives in encouraging and supporting women to take up such positions seem to have some success. Yet relying on the ‘pipe line’ approach, which suggests numbers will come right if enough time is given, does not appear likely to bring around substantial change. The literature suggests that exploring issues around how women are represented within structures and how they exercise, or are allowed to exercise, leadership may well be fruitful in addressing representation. The lack of concern with intersectionality (i.e. taking into account not only gender but ethnicity, class and other aspects) may well be hiding other injustices and examples of inequity (Coate et al., 2015; Lumby, 2012; Morley, 2013; Shakeshaft, 2010; Showunmi et al., 2015). Placing women and leadership within the wider context of equality and diversity, and applying a critical approach to leadership, have much to offer for the direction of future research (Grogan and Shakeshaft, 2012).
Theme 2: Where women are represented within the structures.
Women’s representation within these structures often appears to be:
- a) in limited positions of power and prestige and, in particular circumstances, often when the positions are being degraded by wider social changes and agendas (for example, the role of the head teacher in the ‘academised’ English school system), and,
- b) influenced by ideas about what counts as ‘work’ and what ‘work’ is deemed most valuable; particularly as those positions defined as powerful, responsible, and prestigious are more likely to exclude care and less likely to be held by women.
Themes emerge around the gendered divisions of labour, gender bias and misrecognition, management and masculinities, and the concept of the ‘greedy organisation’. Those thwarting mechanisms appear within the dominant language of leadership and within understandings and appreciations of culture in organizations and wider society. Undertaking an audit of these values and examining those globalised assumptions and policies which are ‘valorised’ (Lumby, 2012) is something on which a Christian organization might wish to embark, especially to identify how far, or otherwise, they are in tune with the Christian message.