The rise of women leadership in Hong Kong’s primary schools: Is it a case of celebration

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Since the late 1990s, there has been a gradual increase of female primary school heads in Hong Kong. In fact, a similar rise can also be observed in other developed countries, such as Norway, Sweden and England, and studies have attributed the increase to their implementation of equal opportunity legislation and family-friendly policies. However, the situation in Hong Kong seems to be very different as there are no similar policies and practices; it therefore provides an important case to explore how women could make into school leadership. Based on life histories of eight female principals, this paper will explore the social and institutional factors that have contributed to their ascendancy; how they make sense of their success; the strategies that they have used to develop their careers and to accommodate various work and personal demands; and not least the costs that they have to bear to become school leaders. By providing a holistic, comprehensive and culturally specific understanding of their values, identities, negotiation and practices, this paper hopes to take the discussion further by exploring whether and how gender relations in Hong Kong have been reconfigured.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


primary school
Hong Kong
equal opportunity
institutional factors
gender relations
social factors


Chan, A. K. W., Choi, D. P.-k., & Ngai, S. K. G. (2012, January). The rise of women leadership in Hong Kong’s primary schools: Is it a case of celebration? Paper presented at the 10th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.