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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 Barriers are a part of every career, with gender bias being one of the most significant. Heilmann (2001) proclaims that the main reason women are not leading organizations is due to gender bias. Women and men have specific characteristics and are expected to act a particular way. Society has equated top leadership positions with males due to their need to be thick-skinned and undaunted (Heilman, 2001). These expected characteristics portray the genders as opposites and men are therefore viewed as natural leaders. Heilman (2001) describes this as a Lack of Fit model that leads to expected successes and failures in line with society’s beliefs about which gender is better suited for specific jobs. Grogan and Shakeshaft (2011), estimate that at the 0.7% annual increase it will take about 77 more years for women to no longer be underrepresented in the superintendency if the rate stayed consistent. This estimate is based on information reported from the AASA in 2000. The AASA reported 2,500 of the 13,728 superintendents nationally were women, approximately 18%. In contrast, the National Center of Education Statistics reported in 2008 that nationally 76% of teachers were women (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010). Women typically spend more time in the classroom as instructional leaders and preparing for a superintendent’s position as compared to men. According to the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in 2010, they reported 87% of women superintendents have more than five years classroom experience before becoming superintendents as compared to 72% of men. In 2009 in Texas, only 10% of superintendents had less than 10 years of experience in education with nearly 65% having between 20 to 39 years (Ramsay, 2010). Although the annual increase of women attaining the position is very low, the number of women qualified and prepared for the position has been growing at a faster rate. In Texas, Ramsay (2011) reported the number of women and men obtaining their first superintendent’s certificate between 2006 and 2010 were fairly evenly divided until 2010, when men became the majority. He also noted that the total number of superintendent’s certificates issued has steadily declined from 336 in 2006 to 161 in 2010 (Ramsay, 2011). The certificates were obtained through various preparation programs including alternative, post-baccalaureate, and out of state. Further research is needed to determine if there are commonalities in women superintendents’ preparation programs. In addition to seeking certification, the AASA’s 2010 report indicated there was a slight decline in the number of women superintendents who possessed doctorate degrees nationally from about 57% in 2000 to 52% in 2010 (Kowalski, McCord, Petersen, Young, & Ellerson, 2011). The AASA’s 2010 report indicated 1,867 of an estimated 12,600 superintendents responded to an electronic survey of which 24% were female (Kowalski et al., 2011). The response rate of less than 15% overall leaves some variance in the number of women who possessed doctoral degrees and the actual number of superintendents nationally. Buckles (2009) found in Texas during the 2008-2009 school year women represented about 15% of the total number of superintendents. The lack of women administrators is a social concern and while understanding the problem is significant, a solution to the problem is not on the horizon (Kellerman & Rhode, 2007). The most commonly used reason for the lack of women in leadership positions is women’s aspirations (Kellerman & Rhode), not preparation. Research conducted by Grogan (1996) 52

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JTWSE—Volume 2  

JTWSE—Volume 2  

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