The intersection of gender and social capital: A narrative inquiry on the underrepresentation of women superintendents in a Midwest state

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Johnson, Dawn M.
Patterson, Jean A.

The superintendency is the highest rank one may attain in school organizations and men have historically dominated the position (Brunner & Grogan, 2007; Shakeshaft, 1999; Young & McLeod, 2001). Using a feminist poststructural perspective and a social capital theoretical framework, this narrative inquiry focused on the career experiences of eight women superintendents. This research sought to understand the advantages and disadvantages of social capital in relation to women networking in a male-dominated environment. The study was conducted through the use of eight semi-structured interviews with women superintendents in a Midwest state. The women have varying years of experience in the superintendency and are located across six different regions in the state. The findings from this study found some women superintendents were not lacking in their ability to access and use social capital for beneficial purposes. Implications from this research are made for women superintendents and aspiring women superintendents, state superintendent organizations, and superintendent vacancy search consultants.

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Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology