The Long Walk to School Principalship


This paper examines the career paths of six female secondary school principals in South Africa, Limpopo province. The qualitative study through document review, semi-structured interviews and observations investigated the factors accounting for these women’s advancement to leadership positions. Findings reveal that women advanced to leadership positions at a later age in the career path than their male counterparts. Moreover, they had to undergo various stages such as HODs and deputy-principalship before their final appointment as school principals. This long process could be seen as one of the contributing factors for under-representation of women in secondary school leadership. Leadership preparation programmes, which are offered to those already in middle management positions, should also be offered to all women educators to empower them. Further, In order to change the perceptions concerning women principals, leadership must be redefined to include feminist perspective so that the process of socialisation becomes broader.


Women, Gender, Feminist Theory, Servanthood Leadership, Mentorship


Educational Organization and Leadership


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Tshilidzi Netshitangani
    • Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Management, University of South Africa, South Africa South Africa