Leadership experience and coping strategies of women secondary school principals: lesson from Ethiopia

Geberew Mekonnen, Mesfin Manaze Woldegebriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explored women principals’ leadership experiences, challenges, and their coping strategies for maintaining their positions. A qualitative study was employed using a semi-structured in-depth interview. Addis Ababa City Administration was purposively selected due to a high turnover of women principals. Eleven secondary school principals were selected using availability sampling as they are the only women principals in the city administration. The findings of the study revealed that women principals’ assignments in various positions such as department head, unit leader, vice principal, and women primary school principals commitment motivated them to aspire to become secondary school principals, along with strong support from their colleagues and their desire to be a leader. The study revealed that teachers’ unwillingness to accept women principals, insufficient support and inappropriate interference from top-level managers were major challenges they faced when executing their roles and responsibility. Respect for staff, patience, delegating work, implementing appropriate measures, and seeking cooperation from parents and the education department was found to be their crucial coping strategies. Large-scale research is needed, and more women principals should be encouraged to take leadership roles responsibilitie
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023


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