Barriers to Upward Mobility of Female Teachers in Administration of Public Secondary Schools: A Case of Bungoma West, Bungoma County,Kenya
Walucho, Joy B.
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In Kenya, although there are many women in the teaching profession, the number that holds administrative positions has been low. The reasons that have led to this situation had not been fully investigated. The purpose of the study was to establish the factors hindering female teachers' advancement to administrative positions, thus causing women under-representation in the administration of public schools in Bungoma West district, Bungoma County. The study was guided by four objectives which were: to establish the factors that influence female teachers career advancement; to establish the extent to which social! cultural factors influence career advancement to administration; to investigate whether gender issues and stereotype are limitations and to determine possible solutions to the problem. Like their male counterparts, women have climbed the academic ladder and there are many of them in the profession but there still remains anunder- representation at the helm of secondary schools administration. Women leaders are very-crucial in the secondary school administration especially as mentors to girls in their future lives. The study endeavored to determine the strategies of strengthening women upward mobility in the field of secondary school administration and identify the challenges that they face. In the study descriptive design was used to describe the actual situation in Bungoma West District of Bungoma County. There were 26 public secondary schools in Bungoma West district, Bungoma County with a population of 472 teachers, 26 principals and 26 deputy. principals. Out of the 26 schools, 13 schools were sampled by use of purposive sampling technique. One hundred and seventeen respondents were selected from the sampled schools from 1 principal, 1 deputy principal and 7.H.O.Ds from every school. The study also included 8 officers from the Bungoma District Education Office bringing to a total of 123 respondents. These made up 26% of the population under study. Piloting was carried out at the District Education Office and identical schools for the purpose of pre-testing the instruments. Data was collected and analyzed by use of statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS). The findings 'were presented through descriptive statistics by use of percentages, frequencies, pie-charta.tables and graphs. The study came up with various findings which considered the challenges facing women teachers' upward mobility in public secondary schools that have prevented them from ascending to administrative positions in Bungoma West district, Bungoma County. It also confirmed that there were indeed few female administrators than the male. The study revealed that the women perceived themselves majorly as home makers and mothers than professionals. Gender and culture played a major role in contributing to the small percentage of female administrators. The male respondents expressed their lack of confidence in female administrators citing the fact that women were . temperamental and attached personal experiences to professional duties. It was also clear that though many women had the right qualifications and were aware of procedures of promotion very few of them applied. The research recommended among other things the need for female teachers to seek further information on the criteria used for promotion and act on that information accordingly. Women should also rise above their traditional role and family responsibilities and be prepared to take up more leadership roles. They also need to attend empowerment seminars and workshops to prepare them in both curricular and co-curricular .duties. There is also need for women to become more ambitious and aggressive in developing their career. Further research was recommended upon finishing the study in relation to women upward mobility in general and in public secondary schools so as to create a more supportive environment at all levels of management.