The role, position and experience of female teachers within faith schools

Tah, Edith Manyong (2016) The role, position and experience of female teachers within faith schools. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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For hundreds of years leadership of religious organisations has been dominated by males, despite the acknowledgement that much religious work and support of the institutions has been done by women. Historically, leadership carried the notion of masculinity and the belief that men were born with certain leadership traits and therefore make better leaders than women. Nevertheless, current thinking contests this view and argues that leadership can be taught and learned and it is possible to develop leader traits in any individual, regardless of gender. This research sets out to contribute in promoting women’s leadership in faith schools.

The research employs a qualitative method of data collection, and adopts the critical realist and feminist theorising standpoint. This research presents results of case studies involving the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim faiths. Through in-depth interviews, an exploration on the views of religious authorities, school authorities and female teachers, regarding the role, and position, and experiences of female teachers within faith schools is presented. The research reveals the reality and complexity of barriers encountered by female teachers from a cultural, social, institutional and religious perspective that hinder women’s career advancement. These case studies provide strong first-hand evidence that is hoped to influence both practice and policy. Through the interaction and involvement of head teachers, school governors and religious authorities concerned with the management of the schools, the research aspires to support a process of enlightenment — particularly to individuals who influence decision making processes — to implement strategies that will allow equal representation among the genders in leadership positions within education in faith schools.

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