Socio-cultural factors influencing women's participation in management of public primary schools in Kalama Division, Machakos District, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to investigate the socio-cultural factors influencing women's participation in the management of public primary schools in Kalama division of Machakos district, Kenya. The study was hinged on the objectives that revolved on, family responsibilities and their influence on women participation in management of public primary schools, the influence of cultural beliefs and values on women participation in management of public primary schools, the influence of women teachers' perception towards women participation in. management of public primary schools, the influence of marital status and the relationship between womens' age, experience and their participation in management of public primary schools. The study adopted the descriptive survey design because variables were not to be manipulated. Simple random sampling was used in data collection from the three categories of teachers in management positions which involved headteachers, deputy headteachers and senior teachers. The instruments used in data collection were questionnaires for headteachers, deputy headteachers and senior teachers. An interview guide was used for the DEO Machakos district and AEO Kalama division. The questionnaires were validated through appraisal from the supervisors and educational administration experts then subjected to a pilot study. The instruments' reliability was assessed through the results of the piloting which was done using test-retest technique and the reliability co-efficient was 0.87. The sample size was comprised of 34 headteachers, 34 deputy heads and 34 senior teachers from the public primary schools in Kalama division. They were selected using simple random sampling from each of the three zones in the division i.e Muumandu, Kola and Kalama. The data was analysed with the help of a computer statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The data analysed was presented using tables, percentages, charts and figures. Findings revealed that, there is high rate of gender imbalance in leadership of the primary schools in Kalama division. This was attributed to several social-cultural factors such as marital status, family responsibility, women's negative attitude towards leadership, discouragement from others, child rearing, one's religious affiliation, ones education level and gender stereotypes. Based on the findings, the study recommended that, women should be empowered through training to acquire skills on leadership; they should be encouraged to take up leadership positions through encouraging them to apply for the positions when they are available. There is also need to educate the community on the potential of women in leadership, this would help in changing the perception of the community on women leadership, outdated cultural beliefs such as male chauvinism should be done away with in order to encourage more women to assume leadership positions. The study also recommends that men in leadership positions should support and appreciate their female counterparts and treat them as equal partners in promotion of education in Kenya. The study suggested studies to be carried out on socio-cultural factors influencing women's participation in management of public primary schools in more districts in order to elicit comparison since these factors could be unique in every district and also on institutional factors that hinder female participation in leadership in primary schools in Kenya.