Women Leading Education

In 2007, AASA, which represents all public school superintendents, and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), a premiere organization of the top 10% of US and some international universities joined forces with Duquesne University to issue a call to women from around the world to address issues of social justice, equity, and advancement in K-12 and higher education. While there are a variety of conferences that have addressed leadership in general and women’s leadership there has never been a collaboratively-designed and globally-shared picture of the status of women in educational leadership in both developing and westernized countries.

Our first international conference was in 2007 in Rome, Italy, where researchers and practitioners from all seven continents convened. Papers were prepared and presented to document 1) the status of women in educational leadership across continents by country; 2) the ways that women attain positions of formal leadership within school systems and universities; and 3) formal and informal programs and processes for the preparation of educational leaders and the usefulness for women of these programs/processes. In addition to status, papers explored access and barriers to access and examined female leadership patterns. The attendance of women scholars and practitioners from developing nations was supported by AASA, UCEA and Duquesne University.

The WLE network has convened every two years since then to expand upon what we were learning and applying it to our jobs and our lives – 2009 in Augsburg, Germany, 2011 in Volos, Greece, 2013 in Apam, Ghana, 2015 in Hamilton, New Zealand, 2017 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and 2019 in Nottingham, UK. Emerging from each of these conferences has been a book, published by Roman & Littlefield, that details the conference sessions and what was learned.