Barriers Female Educators Experience With Regard to Promotion Positions in Management and Leadership Term Paper

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Barriers Female Educators Experience With Regard to Promotion Positions in Management and Leadership

Gender-Based Employment Biases in Educational Fields:

An Examination of the Barriers Experienced by Female Educators with Regard to Promotion and Management Positions in Education

While the plight for gender-equitable workplace has long been thought to have a potential solve within the halls of academia, the disparate employment equation between men and women has long been under-observed. The feminist's battle cry for equality rallied the forces around professional gender streamlining, and in the face of affirmative action for races, the professional inequality across genders gained widespread attention in the second half of the last century. Much of the increased discourse was cemented by the Title IX legislation, passed in 1972 and cementing the importance of gender balance in academic fields.

Title IX most notably prohibited sexual discrimination in education for students, but its legal boundaries included educators and pedagogues directly in the clause. After the passage of the law, the American Education Research Association (AERA), which strives to provide scholarly inquiry into the hallowed halls of America's educational institutions, saw a major increase in membership among female instructors and educators. In 1972, membership was 75% male; by 1994, it was 52% female. (Klein and Ortman, Continuing the Journey Toward GenderEquality, 13.) Additionally, by 1981, only two female presidents had ever presided over the governing body since its inception in 1915; within the next thirteen years, five of the presidents were women. (13) A similar trend could be witnessed throughout the eighties and nineties in the schools themselves; not only were female students less at risk for systematic discrimination, female teachers were legally provided a more stable ground for professional upward mobility.

Under the leadership of past presidents, AERA established a rubric for gender equality in education. Among their concerns in their preliminary inquisition was a foundational requirement that might define a formal paradigm for equality. Primarily, equality can only be achieved in an environment in which "both females and males acquire the most valued characteristics and skills (even if they have been generally attributed to one gender) so that fewer jobs, roles, activities, expectations, and achievements, are differentiated by gender." More over, AERA affirmed that sex segregation in education and society caused by gender stereotyping is summarily inappropriate and that, with the implementation of Title IX and other ideological movements, there is a marked decrease in the gender stereotyping that might be used in making professional decisions about educators on an individual basis. (Bailey and Campbell, Gender Equity, 75.)

Despite the best-laid efforts, the glass ceiling still remains firmly in place for women in the educational workforce. Daily hurtles prevent the society-cast idea of the archaic school marm from rising to the tops of the Ivy League's presidencies. Under the leadership of a female professor from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, AERA has responsively cast this year's focus for social context and education on "Demography and Democracy in the Era of Accountability." (AERA, Message from the Vice President.) Further administrative moves for the accountability required by Title IX were achieved in large force under the Clinton administration; the 1994 reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided a Women's Educational Equity program, critical to examining the levels of gender segregation in the workplace of the educational field. Other actions, like that provided by the Eisenhower Professional Development program, aim to address the problems that create the gender-disparate environment, and break down the barriers at play in academia. As such, attention to the varied demographic geography of the educational workplace -- noticeable by merely walking down an administrative hall at almost any university or school -- is of critical importance to creating a positive and egalitarian modern learning environment.

Statement of the Problem

The call for gender equity that rallied the forces to create, promote, pass, and implement Title IX has dissipated, leaving an academic workplace where equality is more powerful in ideology than action. Most of America's academic administrative and pedagogical management positions are occupied by men, despite a mandatory call for gender equality. (Gadsden, 2.) Because of this imbalance, it is critical to examine and analyze the barriers experienced by female educators with regards to promotion and the attainment of professional success within the field of education.

Review of Literature

Susan Klein and Patricia Ortman have long studied the gender differences at play in academics, and in…

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