Turning points in the lives of two pioneer arab women principals in Israel

Khalid Husny Arara, Sarab Abu-Rabia-Quederb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study investigates the managerial career development of two Arab women, pioneer principals within the Arab education system in Israel. Using in-depth interviews relating to the characteristics of the different stages leading up to and within their careers as school principals (childhood and academic studies; the struggle to achieve the position; and the period in their position as principal), the study reveals the characteristics and evolution of their managerial style. The research findings indicate that these are two highly motivated women who dared to swim against the tide from an early age and achieved their positions, albeit with the support of their families, but not without serious battles. As the first women principals in their communities they continue to develop, while coping with the norms of Arab patriarchal society, where they need to prove that, despite their gender and the associated expectations, they are effective leaders. This necessitated their initial adoption of an authoritarian administrative style, which they eventually adapt into a more empathetic style. The study contributes to the study of female management styles by showing the evolution of the two women's management styles within the context of their traditional society, thereby questioning previous studies that see women's management styles as a static phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
JournalGender and Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Arab women
  • Career transitions
  • Management
  • Managerial style
  • Women's leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Education


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