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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 superintendents’ backgrounds for commonalities and which educational preparation programs they attended. Literature Review Women have struggled for the right to an education, the right for independence and the right to vote. Before women gained the right to vote in 1920, they were excluded from holding positions that were deemed as men’s jobs such as doctors, lawyers, soldiers, and school administrators. Such was the case for Myra Bradwell in 1872, when she challenged the law that restricted her from becoming a lawyer, although she was well qualified and prepared for the position. Her case went as far as the United States Supreme Court where she was still denied access to the position of lawyer. Justice Bradley said in his concurring opinion: It is true that many women are unmarried and not affected by any of the duties, complications, and incapacities arising out of the married state, but these are exceptions to the general rule. The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution of things, and cannot be based upon exceptional cases …and, in my opinion, in view of the peculiar characteristics, destiny, and mission of woman, it is within the province of the legislature to ordain what offices, positions, and callings shall be filled and discharged by men, and shall receive the benefit of those energies and responsibilities, and that decision and firmness which are presumed to predominate in the sterner sex (Bradwell v. State of Illinois, 1872). While women are no longer excluded from any career in the United States or from obtaining an education, women continue to struggle to be treated as equals to men in particular careers. It has been more than a century since the Bradwell ruling, and the percentage of women in the superintendency is still less than 25%. Grogan and Shakeshaft (2011) argue that the low percentage of women in the superintendency suggests that women are still not considered equal to men for leadership positions like that of the superintendency, although they are equally prepared. Women have been discouraged from seeking the superintendency position since it was deemed a man’s job (Blount, 1998). Tyack (1981) attributes the lack of women in administration to the “sexual structuring” (p. 28) of the American educational system. Blount (1998) concluded that teaching became feminized and administration became masculinized in the field of education around the year 1900. After the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote and the women’s movement progressessd, women began preparing and moving to positions that were previously forbidden such as lawyers, doctors, and school administrators, but not without barriers. As the feminist movement pushed forward and began gaining ground, women became superintendents, but women’s progress towards the superintendency has been intermittent. By 1930, nearly 11% of all superintendent positions were held by women (Blount, 1998). By 1980, only about 1% of superintendents were women (Brunner & Grogan, 2007). The numbers over the years have been unpredictable and dependent on factors beyond women’s control such as men returning from war to fill those positions (Blount, 1998).


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JTWSE—Volume 2  

JTWSE—Volume 2  

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