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Principal Data May Highlight Gender Inequity in Idaho

By Angel Gonzalez
Earlier this month, our team wrote a piece to celebrate International Women’s Day and acknowledge the women who work in Idaho’s education system. We thanked the many women who champion innovative ideas in education and celebrated women principals leading some of the best schools in the state.
Although we were not able to get to it in that blog, we also wondered how women were represented in Idaho’s education workforce. Upon receiving this data from the State Department of Education, we were sobered by the disparity between men and women in one key area of education. While women dominate the teaching ranks, much more men served as principals.
School leadership is one of the most important factors to great schools. It is worth taking a hard look at the complex decision process involved in selecting principals to ensure every qualified person has a fair shot at the job.  So, why the discrepancy? This is a tough question answer, and the data available to us offers limited insight. But, what do we know? We know there is research showing that barriers persist for women taking leadership roles, even though they are just as qualified. We also know that women who work in Idaho continue to struggle with inequity. Finally, we know that there are many women leaders in education speaking out about gender inequality, and shedding a greater light on barriers they faced throughout their career.
This data leaves us with lots of unanswered questions about gender equality in Idaho’s education workforce. But, more questions are definitely a good thing.

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