Purpose - This paper seeks to set the stage for the exploration of female leadership in educational systems within developing countries by reviewing the current research on women in educational administration within developing countries and suggesting future directions for further research on this subject in non-western countries. Design/methodology/approach - The paper is based partially on a systematic review of 13 English-language papers that have been published in peer-reviewed journals in educational administration, gender studies in education, and comparative education. Findings - The review points to particular barriers to women's career advancement in educational systems within developing countries (e.g. strong family obligations, low levels of girl education, majority of men in teaching positions), unique career experiences (e.g. the important role of the father), and to the adoption of "androgynous" leadership style by the few women administrators in these countries. Practical implications - Future directions for further exploration of this area of study are suggested (e.g. adopting a different theoretical view, the policy influences). Originality/value - The paper is an initial attempt to accumulate knowledge about the life and work of women administrators and educators in developing countries, an issue that has received marginalized attention in the extended research on gender and educational administration. Likewise, the paper provides researchers with suggestions for new empirical directions of high importance to the understanding of women administrators' lives and work in different cultural settings.
- Career development
- Developing countries