Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Martha L. Whitaker


Gender inequalities in the workplace continue to plague aspiring career- directed women. In public education, it is established that there are fewer women high school principals than there are men. In a profession predominantly employing women, the question remains, “Where are the women high school administrators”? This study examines the sociopolitical gender systems and psychological dynamics that perpetuate gender inequality. It then discusses the encumbered or constrained choices women make that are burdened or made more complicated by gendered sociopolitical or psychological dynamics. The study is a qualitative study narrowing the life-history method with an innovative career life-history focus. Seven high school women principals were interviewed and then data were transcribed and analyzed. Participants provided an external participant who shared their perspectives of the career life histories of these women principals, which added to the richness of the data analysis. Resumes of the principal participants were collected for triangulation purposes. Finally, a narrative from the data analysis was written. The findings reveal unintentional career journeys. The women in the study were invited to join administrative teams, reluctantly accepted, and embarked on their career journey, psychologically transitioning from teacher to administrator. They navigated through sociopolitical systems and barriers, finding support from family, supervisors, and friends. The women’s new identities led to reconfigured families and brought diversity to high school administrative teams.