Female Leadership in Islamic Schools in the United States of America: Prevalence, Obstacles, and Challenges Open Access
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Abstract of DissertationFemale Leadership in Islamic Schools in the United States of America: Prevalence, Obstacles, and ChallengesIslam is the most misunderstood religion in the world, and the status of Muslim women is even more misinterpreted. There have been relatively few studies of Islamic educational leaders and even fewer specifically addressing female Islamic educational leadership. Although women have made tremendous progress in the labor force, the proportion of women in leadership positions remains problematic still. This study addresses a gap in the literature by providing a quantitative assessment of the main characteristics of female principals of Islamic schools in the United States.This study was an exploration of the prevalence, obstacles, challenges, perceptions, and experiences of female leaders in Islamic schools, as well as possible reasons for the discrepancy between the number of female teachers and the number of females holding leadership positions in Islamic schools. This study used a quantitative research method. A 48-question survey was sent electronically to all female principals of Islamic schools throughout the entire continental United States to obtain data and to examine and address the two research questions. The study sample consisted of 52 principals representing 52% of the overall eligible population of women holding the position of principal in an Islamic school in the United States.The analysis of the survey findings suggested that lack of family support, negative attitude regarding women as leaders, and lack of educational opportunity are the main barriers that the sample of female principals in this study perceived as restricting administrative opportunities for women principals or women aspiring to be principals. Additionally, there was a consensus that self confidence and intelligence are the two most important traits that impact women positively in attaining leadership positions in Islamic schools. The respondents further revealed that having a good education and being a good communicator are just as important as the previous two factors.