STEARNS: Maintain equal gender representation in admin

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mugshot_stearnsBY MIKALYA STEARNS
[email protected]

Before talking to the superintendent, I imagined that the gap in female to male admin was similar to the lack in racial diversity that Robbie Short highlighted last year: large and (not) in charge.

I assumed they were going to be relatively the same story, in terms of the data. I first contacted the superintendent to “look into the gender discrepancy,” but I was corrected with a beautiful statement: “At the sites currently, there are 14 male and 15 female administrators. Not sure what discrepancy you are interested in.” Never was I happier to be wrong.

After Lindsey Parker announced she’s leaving Roseville High School to become an assistant principal at Antelope, the district remains at a solid ratio of 16 female administrators to 19 male administrators (the superintendent’s statement didn’t include some of the directors at a district level).

This is so much more than I was expecting considering the 3:1 ratio of male to female administrators at Roseville High School. In 2007-2009, the number of female administrators in Roseville Joint Union High School District was completely dominated by male admin, 9 female administrators to the 22 males.

Though district admin can chalk up the jump in representation to a larger pool of female applicants, at some level whether conscious or unconscious, the higher-ups in the district acted to get more women into positions of authority. Do I even really need to say “finally”?

A young girl surrounded by all male teachers, and to a lesser extent a district’s male-dominated admin, won’t thrive at the same level males will.

This is especially true when you think about that young girl’s expectations for herself as a woman: seeing no representation for people like her in authoritative positions early on in her life could jeopardize any possibility of seeing herself in those positions in the future.

I’m glad we are making improvements happen, but we have not yet achieved some glorious stage of equality. And needless to say, this should’ve happened a long time ago. I applaud the district for making these strides, but what was the roadblock in the past?

Sure, you could try to make the argument that minute situational things or a “too small” pool of female applicants prevented RJUHSD from hiring more female staff, but for a hundred-something years?

I have a hard time believing that for that many years, we couldn’t find more women candidates for administrative positions. There should have been an active search for women to place in administrative positions.

Additionally, for a hundred-something years, RHS has yet to have a female principal. Is that because no qualified women have applied for the job? I doubt it.

The district needs to continue this uptrend, and though it was “coincidental,” it needs to be purposeful now. I need to be able to see my aspirations realized in female role models close to home.