Female Superintendents’ Perceptions of Unconscious Gender Bias In The Superintendency: An Exploratory Quantitative Study

Type: Article
Topics: Equity, Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Leadership Development

January 01, 2023

This nationwide study of 532 female school district superintendents, the largest such sample to date,
offers compelling evidence that unconscious gender bias exists on the job and further inhibits equitable
female representation in the superintendency. A modified version of Tran et al.’s (2019) Perceived
Subtle Gender Bias Index (PSGBI), was confirmed as a valid instrument for assessing female
superintendents’ perceptions of unconscious gender bias and produced the same four factors as the
original PSGBI. Findings support Joan Acker’s (1990) theoretical assertion that gender inequality is
deeply embedded within organizational structures, patterns, and processes. Respondents reported that
gender bias occurs more frequently than the profession acknowledges and suggested that it derives
primarily from sources other than superintendents’ colleagues. Recommendations offered.

female superintendent, unconscious gender bias, perception, perceived subtle gender bias index
(PSGBI), Joan Acker, theory of gendered organizations



Julia DiSalvo Drake, EdD Elementary School Principal Springhurst Elementary School Dobbs Ferry School District Dobbs Ferry NY
Editorial Review Board
AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice

Kenneth Mitchell, Manhattanville College

Associate Editor
Barbara Dean, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Editorial Review Board
Jessica Anspach, Montclair State University
Brandon Beck, Ossining Public Schools
Gina Cinotti, Netcong Public Schools, New Jersey
Michael Cohen, Denver Public Schools
Betty Cox, University of Tennessee, Martin
Vance Dalzin, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI
Mary Lynne Derrington, University of Tennessee
Ryan Fisk, East Rockaway Public Schools, NY
Denver J. Fowler, Southern Connecticut State University
Daniel Gutmore, Seton Hall University
Gregory Hauser, Roosevelt University, Chicago
Steve Hernon, St. John’s University
Zach Kelehear, Augusta University, GA
Kevin Majewski, Seton Hall University
Joanne Marien, Manhattanville College
Nelson Maylone, Eastern Michigan University
Robert S. McCord, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Emeritus
Barbara McKeon, Broome Street Academy Charter High School, New York, NY
Margaret “Terry” Orr, Fordham University
Brian Osborne, Lehigh University
David J. Parks, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Joseph Phillips, Manhattanville College
Joseph Ricca, White Plains City School District
Thomas C. Valesky, Florida Gulf Coast University, Emeritus
Charles Wheaton, Leadership Services, Granger, WA