Department of Educational Administration


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Published in Women as School Executives: Realizing the Vision, edited by Carole Funk, Anita Pankake, & Marianne Reese, The Texas Council of Women School Executives, 1998.


© Copyright 1998 by Texas Council of Women School Executives


Research in leadership that focuses on gender and ethnicity issues provides us with little practical information for women, The few studies that do exist point to gender and race discrimination (Doughty, 1980; Marcias, ]994; Gorena, 1996), Researchers must move beyond the documentation of negative past and present conditions for women and minorities and begin to look at ways these individuals can achieve equality. Additional"cultural studies" will aid in the task of analyzing the power relations that occur in all social settings. If we can discover the source of women's support, we can increase this support for others. By examining the barriers women face, we will better educate persons on how to recognize and address discrimination. This information may also help women deal with barriers more effectively and help to create greater equality for women. Scholars have studied the absence of women and minorities from administrative and leadership positions (Edson, 1987; Ginn, 1989; Hansot & Tyack, 1981). Many studies of women include minorities; however, the focus is primarily on African American women. The literature and research concerning Hispanic women leaders remains limited. The purpose for conducting this qualitative multicase study was to understand six Hispanic women leaders' perceptions of the opportunities and barriers they faced in their career progressions. We identified these, as well as leadership characteristics or strategies, that enabled the women to succeed in non-traditional careers predominately held by men. We used interviews to collect data that provided insights into the understanding of career opportunities and barriers of Hispanic women currently in leadership positions. We developed questions to gain insight into the overall career progression of Hispanic women leaders, then to inductively focus on specific prominent areas.