The study focused on understanding women’s motivation to apply for principalship in secondary schools. There have been several studies conducted on the reasons that discourage female educators from applying for the principalship in secondary schools. In addition, there is much literature on the underrepresentation of women as principals’ in secondary schools. However, there is limited number of studies on the factors that motivate women to apply for principalship in secondary schools. Hence, the researcher ‘s aim was to find out what motivates women to apply for principalship in secondary schools and also to investigate the barriers that prevent them from being successful. The assumption in the study was that, despite the challenges/barriers, women continue to apply for senior management positions and thus, that understanding their motivation may help in increasing the number of female principals in secondary schools.
The study focused on the factors that motivate women to apply for positions as secondary school principals, regardless of their low rate of success. The study also discusses the theoretical framework (motivation theory) which was deemed to be pertinent to the study. The study used qualitative research methods in order to collect the requisite data. A purposive sampling method was used to select six participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three female principals and three female teachers (one deputy principal, one HOD and one senior teacher) drawn from secondary schools. The interviews were conducted after school hours and field notes were taken during the interviews. .
The data collected was analysed, categorised, synthesised and decoded. The results of the research were explained well comprising the narrations from the participants. The main research outcomes has shown that factors such as internal motivation, external motivation, mentoring, attendance of preparation and leadership programmes, women leadership styles and their qualities, their qualifications and experiences motivate women to apply for principalship in secondary schools. The study also found that, although women aspire and are motivated to apply for principalship in secondary schools, there are barriers which prevent their being appointed to such positions.