A female advantage? Gender and educational leadership practices in urban primary schools in Chile

José Weinstein, Matías Sembler, Marisa Weinstein, Javiera Marfán, Paulina Valenzuela, Gonzalo Muñoz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


What differences are there, according to teachers’ opinions, in school leadership practices between male principals (MPs) and female principals (FPs) in urban primary schools in Chile? A national survey has been done to address this topic, which was answered by the principal and five teachers in 381 urban primary schools. Following Leithwood’s school leadership four-category model, 14 practices were considered and measured. Data were analysed by statistical procedures, including the decision tree technique, chi-squared automatic interaction detection (CHAID). Findings showed that in 9 out of 14 practices, FPs have a significantly more favourable evaluation from teachers. Data confirmed that, when compared to other personal traits of principals or school features, gender is the strongest independent variable related with leadership practices. Nonetheless, this advantage occurs in an overall scenario in which both FPs and MPs engage unevenly with the leadership practices across the dimensions of the model. This study does not aim to explain the female advantage, but to show the shape of leadership differences by gender regarding theoretically relevant practices. Nevertheless, its data allow ruling out some possible hypotheses for interpreting those differences. The article suggests that further research is needed to theoretically explain the reasons behind differences in leadership practice by FPs and MPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1122
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Chile
  • Leadership
  • gender
  • schools


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