About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 2776 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

WOMEN OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN: PROGRESS, SUCCESSES, AND CHALLENGES

E. Reilly

Loyola Marymount University (UNITED STATES)
In Afghanistan, the field of education brought to the brink of extinction under the rule of the Taliban, has begun to make steps toward restoration, but one of the critical challenges it faces is human capital. Along with this challenge is the role of women, which is to a large degree anecdotal. Nearly a decade into the country’s reconstruction, women who work or attempt to gain an education still do so at great risk to their personal safety (Emerson, 2010). Women’s status in educational leadership is unclear. The purpose of this investigation was to shed light on women’s role in rebuilding the nation’s K-12 educational system. This qualitative study, which took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, provides insight into the status of women in educational leadership by examining their progress, successes, and challenges.

With presently available data, the progress of goals is unclear as set forth by the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Commission on the Status of Women (2002) to employ Afghan women, including in management positions; and to give priority to the capacity-building of professional Afghan women in relation to the Ministry of Education’s goals vis-à-vis educational leadership. Furthermore, the principal roadmap of K-12 education in Afghanistan is its National Education Strategic Plan (Afghanistan Ministry of Education, 2006). While the plan does state that it will develop administration competency framework by 2010, that by 2013, 21,000 school principals and headmasters will be trained on issues of effective school management, and that 4,000 educational managers will have participated in short-term workshops or received scholarships to improve their management skills, no progress has been made to date in establishing the framework and little has been done to fund the mandate.

The investigator interviewed fourteen men and women who were in positions of educational leadership or qualified to comment on educational leadership, and used a feminist methodological model as a means to analyze the data (Hoyt, 2007). This methodology provided the opportunity to highlight themes that pertain to the role of women in society—themes that were examined through the lens of educational leadership. The model employed three categories by which to classify the data: human capital, gender differences, and prejudice.

For example, the gender difference category examines a woman’s style and effectiveness; commitment and motivation; self-promotion; negotiation skills; and evolution. One of several findings revealed that women leaders in K-12 system have little to no training in leadership theories and skills. Women who are promoted come from the teaching ranks. Professional development related to leadership development in the K-12 system, which is overseen by the Ministry of Education, is not systematic.

The themes led to lessons of social justice; human dignity and strength; and leadership. Women leaders embody resilience, the desire for capacity building, and the ability to formulate future visions of education. One specific lesson was the women’s ability to imagine a future for Afghanistan. Leaders commit to their organizations because they recognize that the tipping point to a positive future weighs heavily in the balance. Religious, cultural, and political beliefs, factors, and agendas affect their ability to lead, but to surrender to these forces means surrender to a dark future for the nation.
@InProceedings{REILLY2011WOM,
author = {Reilly, E.},
title = {WOMEN OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN: PROGRESS, SUCCESSES, AND CHALLENGES},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {2776}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Reilly
TI - WOMEN OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN: PROGRESS, SUCCESSES, AND CHALLENGES
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 2776
EP - 2776
ER -
E. Reilly (2011) WOMEN OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN AFGHANISTAN: PROGRESS, SUCCESSES, AND CHALLENGES, ICERI2011 Proceedings, p. 2776.
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