Application of feminist phase theory in educational leadership textbooks: A developmental analysis

Phyllis F Reggio, Fordham University


A key focus of school administration programs is to prepare educators for the challenges of urban leadership. When female school leaders aspire to leadership positions, the challenges that these issues present are often compounded by other factors such as gender stereotypes and limited opportunities. Textbooks, key tools of leadership study, that present potential urban leaders with androcentric views can perpetuate limited perspectives of female leadership. Feminist phase theory was used as the theoretical framework for conducting a developmental analysis of the treatment of women in a sample of eight educational leadership textbooks published from 1956 through 2013. Content analysis was employed to examine three components of educational leadership, tasks, roles, and beliefs and behaviors of leaders, to determine the treatment of women over time. Data were analyzed for references to gender and used to stage each component using Tetreault's five-phase model which includes: Phase 1, male scholarship; Phase 2, compensatory scholarship; Phase 3, bifocal scholarship; Phase 4, feminist scholarship; and Phase 5, multifocal scholarship. Although progress toward a multifocal view of leadership was revealed in recent textbooks, earlier phases of gender awareness were exhibited. Recommendations included the need to replicate this study's findings by assessing other forms of leadership materials, including widely used textbooks and materials that present diverse perspectives.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|School administration|Education

Recommended Citation

Reggio, Phyllis F, "Application of feminist phase theory in educational leadership textbooks: A developmental analysis" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3604906.