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Barriers To Advancement In Educational Administration As Perceived By Women Administrators

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers to advancement in educational administration as perceived by women administrators in public education and to identify those which were seen as the greatest obstacles to advancement. Procedure. A twenty-one item survey was developed through a comprehensive review of the literature and sent to a sample of 342 full-time California public school women administrators. Findings. Eighty-seven percent of the surveys were returned. None of the 21 barriers was excluded; thirteen were placed in the "moderate to important" range, with absence of an "old boys" network, sponsorship, or other support systems ranked as the most serious barrier. Some differences in the perceptions among the various administrative groups were noted. Conclusions. (1) Barriers exist for women educators who wish to advance in administration. (2) Few differences in perceptions were found between line and staff officers or among superintendents, assistant superintendents, coordinators, elementary and secondary principals. (3) Age, marital status, years in administration, and size of district were not related to responses. (4) External barriers, those emanating from the society and its institutions, are seen as more serious obstacles to advancement than internal barriers. (5) Administrators who plan to advance perceive barriers as more serious than those who have no career plans for advancement. (6) The organizational structure, both formal and informal, poses serious obstacles to the advancement of women. (7) An overwhelming number of successful women administrators were encouraged to advance by their superordinates. (8) The majority of women administrators have career aspirations. Recommendations. (1) Similar studies could be conducted with entry level administrators, with male administrators, with those women who are currently qualified but who have not applied for administrative positions, to determine their perceptions of the barriers to advancement. (2) A study of women who have been unsuccessful applicants for administrative positions might offer other insights into those factors which discriminate against the advancement of women could be helpful.

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