Female school principals of Mizrahi background in Israel : the interplay of social identity and professional perceptions
The present research discusses gender, ethnicity and educational role interplay of Mizrahi principals. It is theoretical and empirical study of the three aspects of social identity construction and meaning. The importance of research is stemming from ethnic gap issue in Israel. This qualitative study is using life story approach, through analyzing in depth interviews of 20 Mizrahi (Asia and North Africa) background primary head teachers. Content analysis revealed six categories: Management path; Own mother as related model; Definition of personal gender/ethnic background identity; Gains and costs of gender/ethnicity; Positioning related to either gender or ethnic background; Presence and absence of gender/ethnicity at school agenda. A typology of four different types of perceived relationship between ethnicity, gender and educational management: Type 1 -- Split: Professional identity is disconnected to gender and ethnic identity. Type 2 -- Partial split: Professional and gender identities are connected and ethnic identity is disconnected. Type 3 -- Partial integration: Professional, gender and ethnicity identities are partly connected. Type 4 -- Integration: Professional, gender and ethnicity identities are connected through constant dialogue. Personal and professional identities are often integrative in a way that assigns particular significance to gender identity in their work life, while ethnic identity is more assimilated in professional life as marginal or meaningless. Type 4 principals, particularly, perceive ethnic identity and gender identity reciprocity as significant source of strength and empowerment, and social justice agenda. The findings were discussed mainly through social constructivist interpretive framework. Mizrahi women principals are managing their identities interplay and varying according to the different discourses addressing them as Israeli Jewish, 'Mizrahi', women and managers within educational management arena, and tend to comply with ethnization and feminization social processes.