Phanice Ingasia Chisikwa
Women are under-represented in school headship in many parts of the world. Social-cultural reasons have been used to explain this discrepancy, particularly in Western countries. In Vihiga District in the Republic of Kenya, the situation is that only 24% of head-teachers in mixed secondary schools were women. Social-cultural factors contributing to this scenario were unknown. A descriptive survey design was used to establish perceptions of stakeholders on social-cultural factors that influence gender imbalance in appointment of head teachers in mixed secondary schools in Vihiga District, Western Province, Kenya. The study involved 34 Head teachers, 34 Board of Governors Chairpersons, 34 Parent Teacher Association Chairpersons, 465 teachers (310 males and 155 females) and one District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer (DQASO). Questionnaire and In-depth interview were used to collect data .The study found out that school location, school leadership traditions, male dominance, dual role and spouse attitude were perceived as influences on gender imbalance in the appointment of head teachers. Based on the findings, it is recommended that improvement of infrastructure and accessibility of the upcoming schools should be done to attract and retain female head-teachers in these schools, communities should be sensitized on gender equality and to respect female head teachers and advocacy should be enhanced for the girl child education.
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