Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication (Name of Journal)

Quality in education: Teaching and leadership in challenging times


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


Though literature on educational leadership is expansive, most of it is related to the social and organisational structure of educational systems in the western world, thereby giving an impression that western models of leadership are universal. Hence, there is need to study school leadership in non-western countries because perspectives of educational leadership have been taken almost exclusively from western literature and practice. Women in educational leadership are in a minority in Pakistan and Kenya, as is the case in many parts of the world. Whilst a number of writers have attempted to identify and categorise some of the internal and external barriers to the progress of women’s careers in educational leadership, little discourse has occurred in both Pakistan and Kenya concerning how women experience leadership and even less about the role of gender in educational leadership. This paper, therefore, sets out to share findings of two studies on Pakistani and Kenyan women in educational leadership. It presents the similarities and differences between the women educational leaders’ experiences from a gender perspective, in the two countries and discusses the implication of the findings in the provision of education, especially in light of the Education for All (EFA) targets of both Kenya and Pakistan. The Pakistan study was a narrative inquiry based on several individual interviews with 4 the research participants and sought. A narrative approach was felt best suited to find out how the women have experienced and continue to experience gender in their positions of leadership. The Kenyan study, which is still currently going on, has employed the use of a life history approach as well as some ethnographic methods such as observations and document analysis. It has engaged 12 participants, though this paper presents findings from the first phase of the study which looked at how the personal and professional experiences of 6 women leaders have impacted on their leadership practices. For purposes of this paper, gender has been used as the dominating factor of analysis to frame the women’s stories.