Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 5, No.2-April 2007 ISSN: 1541-6224


Copyright © 2007 Pro>Active Publications. Used by permission.


Throughout history, men have dominated leadership roles, yet women are creating a new force of energy. They are actively involved as leaders in business, health care, politics, education, and sports, as well as on economic, social, and environmental issues. This involvement of all people in leadership means that [women] will have more opportunities to lead people and develop [their] leadership skills. (Karnes & Bean, 1993, p. 130) Leadership, or "the position or function of a leader; ability to lead; an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction; the leaders of a group" (, 2006), enables women to make societal change. Astin and Leland (1991) interviewed women leaders and noted that they are, "Predisposed to leadership by their heritage, perhaps, or propelled by their special skills and talents, the women leaders also persuasively demonstrate the critical significance of experiences that allow leadership practice" (p. 54). Women leaders come from all types of homes, from large cities and small cities, from varying backgrounds and experiences, but there are common themes that emerge from these leaders. As noted by Shriberg, Shriberg, and Kumari (2005), successful leadership is studied and analyzed by many people and organizations because it is difficult to understand, define, and articulate, and yet, it is one of the key elements to success of a project or organization. To better understand women and leadership, focusing on past and present successful women leaders and hearing their recommendations and suggestions will inform us.