Women Leading Education

Who We Are

The administrative headquarters for Women Leading in Education Across Continents is housed at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Charol Shakeshaft serves as coordinator/director. The organization is a flat hierarchy. Decisions are made by a representative committee including: Dr. Shakeshaft, Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University; Dr. Sharon Adams Taylor, Associate Executive Director, AASA; Dr. Michelle Young, University of VIrginia and University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA); Dr. Margaret Grogan, Dean, Chapman University; e Dr. Victoria Showunmi, University College London and Maynooth University Dublin; Dr. Kay Fuller, 2019 Conference convenor , University of Nottingham, Belmas Gender and Leadership Research Interest Group; Dr. Rosangela Malachias, Rio de Janerio State University, Brazil; and Dr. Rachel McNae, University of Waikato.  

Recognizing the Gap

In 2006, the Women’s Special Interest Group (SIG) of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) recognized that no single world-wide venue existed whereby interested researchers, policy makers, practitioners and others could obtain an understanding of the underrepresentation of women in the highest levels of educational leadership across the globe, nor the social and educational impact. UCEA, a premiere organization of the top 10% of US and some international universities, and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), recognized the same need. Dr. Helen Sobehart (Associate Academic Vice Present for Graduate Education) was chair of the UCEA Women’s SIG and long time member of AASA, so began work on the charge.  

"On our last day, the group came together. We synthesized the learning of the first three days in both small and large group discussions. It was amazing. These outstanding human beings, who had come together from the soil of every continent, sat together in unified voices to agree upon goals that can impact the cause of gender equity in educational leadership and touch the lives of our sons, daughters and generations beyond. We asked ourselves what we could do to give back to the world, sharing information and wisdom to all within our reach – in person and in virtual environments. We set goals for ourselves that implicitly carried the will to “be friends on the other side”, the other side of the work that we began." 

Excerpted from the Epilogue of our first book, Sharing the Spirit, Fanning the Flame: Women Leading Education Across the Continents, pg 611  

Our overall goal is to document the status of diverse women in educational leadership across continents. Specifically we will: 

  1. Document statistically, update and disseminate where women are in the education continuum, as students, workers and as educators at all levels 
  2. Document the ways that women attain positions of formal leadership within schools and universities 
  3. Investigate the extent to which, if at all, formal and informal programs and processes facilitate the preparation and development of leaders for diversity and gender equity (extent to which they are mainstreamed into educational programs and organizational structures) 
  4. Collect experiences of women in educational leadership internationally and document their institutional impact 
  5. Question and monitor what is happening as an international group – a gender watch system
  6. Cooperate to develop more gender inclusive leadership theories, policies and practices related to education and link this to human rights and our daily work
  7. Return powerfully and purposefully in the future to build and expand our community 
  8. Develop research teams around focused areas and investigate a range of theoretical methodologies