Female Relational Educational Leadership In Disadvantaged Contexts
Despite the feminisation of the education profession women remain underrepresented in leadership positions. For South African women, the ravages of Apartheid and patriarchy aggravate the situation. The aim of the study was to analyse the lived experiences of female education leaders in rural disadvantaged communities through a critical feminist lens. This paper identifies for special focus - how they employ/enact relational leadership styles to navigate the social and pedagogic challenges that assail them. The research sites were selected from schools in the first phase of the Historical Schools Restoration Project (HSRP). This qualitative study adopted a case studies research design; and aligned itself with critical feminist research methodologies. Through purposive sampling, five historic schools and thirteen female participants were included in this study. Data was elicited through in-depth interviews, and observations. Data were analysed by qualitative data analysis, critical discourse analysis and feminist critical discourse analytical techniques. The findings of this study identified nuances of relational leadership – which included relational leadership as hierarchical and horizontal within the matrix of individualised and community configurations; to relational leadership as caring and nurturing and invested in the physical and pedagogic needs of the learners.
Index Terms- educational leadership, feminist research methodologies, Historical Schools Restoration Project, relational leadership, rural education contexts, South Africa