A study of the differences among African -American, Hispanic, and Anglo women on the perceived barriers and strategies to career advancement in public school administration

Marie Byrd, Florida International University


Women have been traditionally excluded from the ranks of principals and district administrators in public school systems throughout the country. Traditionally, Anglo women have been more successful than African American and Hispanic women in breaking down the barriers that impede their ascension to the top. The purpose of this study was to ascertain how African American, Hispanic, and Anglo higher-level female administrators perceive the barriers that hinder their progress, the effects of the barriers, and the strategies to overcome the barriers. ^ Two hundred, sixty female administrators employed with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and serving in the role of principal or higher were mailed a questionnaire consisting of 49 questions centering on personal and professional characteristics, perceptions of barriers, perceived effects of barriers, and strategies to overcome the barriers. One hundred, seventy-five questionnaires were returned. To analyze the respondents' personal and professional characteristics, cross tabulations were conducted on the demographic information and on the strategies. ANOVA was conducted on the barriers and the effects of the barriers by ethnic groups. Tukey's test for post-hoc comparisons was utilized to identify groups with means significantly divergent from those of other ethnicities. ^ The data revealed that Hispanic female higher-level administrators who returned the questionnaire were more likely to be married and have children as compared to Anglo and African American female administrators. When addressing the barriers to career success, African American females had a higher mean score on 14 of the 17 barriers to career success as compared to the other ethnic groups. Hispanic female administrators proved to be more successful in utilizing the strategies to overcome career barriers. The strategy, forming a “New Girl Network,” was the least utilized with 79 of the respondents reporting that they had never used it. ^ It is concluded that there is strong need for female administrators to network, mentor, and support one another. Also, it is imperative that the success of particular groups in certain areas is shared with others. ^

Subject Area

Black Studies|Women's Studies|Education, Administration|Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

Marie Byrd, "A study of the differences among African -American, Hispanic, and Anglo women on the perceived barriers and strategies to career advancement in public school administration" (January 1, 1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI9923126.