A comparative study of a male and a female school leader

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In the Pakistani society, leadership is considered as a male attribute, as it is associated with the masculine traits such as authority and control. This assumption not only affects women's entry into leadership positions, but it also affects men who opt for this position, as they are expected to behave in a way that is considered masculine. However, current leadership theories demand leaders to be more collaborative and caring and possess people-oriented traits that are commonly associated with women. Literature on leadership in Pakistan are silent about whether male and female school leaders lead their schools in similar or different ways. This study sought to explore the similarities and differences in leadership styles of a male and a female head teacher. The study employed a case study approach. Information was gathered through individual interviews, focus group interviews, document analysis and observations. One male head teacher and one female head teacher from private secondary schools in Karachi were the primary participants of the study. Four teachers and four students from each school were interviewed to find out their views about their head teachers, data were triangulated from gathering their head teachers' views and from other sources like document analysis and observation. The findings of the study suggest that the male head teacher and the female head teacher exhibit similar styles of leadership. They execute a combination of leadership styles according to the demand of the situation and these range from transactional to transformational styles of leadership. The data evidenced that both the head teachers emphasized on teaching and learning process in their schools. They have developed a learning environment not only for the students but also for the teachers. They have delegated power and authority to the staff and the students. The findings also suggest that leaders are not born but they are developed, as various factors are involved in enhancing their leadership skills and knowledge: training programs, availability of role models, socialization and experiences of being led by others. The study makes several recommendations: i) the need to re-culture the stereotyping associated with the notion of leadership and leadership positions and ii) providing head teachers with an opportunity to access training programs to develop their skills as leaders.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library