This chapter constitutes a marking out of territory which has significance for education and educational administration. Leadership is a concept central to theories of how organizations such as schools and educational bureaucracies work since, historically, schools have been organized in hierarchical ways. Authority is seen to be legitimately accorded to the principal, generally a male. Increasingly the ways in which schooling and school knowledge are defined and organized have been contested. The implications of the gendered and hierarchical division of labour within education for pedagogy and organizational life have been recently theorized about and questioned (Connell, 1987; Apple, 1985). Similarly organizational theory, the source of many central concepts of educational administration, has only begun to be criticized for its gender-blindness (Hearn and Parkin, 1983). Emphasis in this criticism has been on the masculinist model which has been assumed to portray all experience. The assumption of the universality of the male experience has been the consequence of a privileging of positivist knowledge claims and research approaches. It is this positivist research paradigm which has informed the liberal interventionist policies of equal opportunity during the 1970s and early 1980s. Premised upon sex role socialization theory, such policies sought to facilitate individual women taking on ‘leadership roles’ in schools in order to create a more equitable gender balance, and in so doing establish role models for girls and other women as ‘leaders’. But the reduction of women in such positions over this period suggests that the issue is more complex than merely a matter of numbers. This paper argues that whilst the conceptualization of leadership in education is seen to be unproblematic, there is little hope for education becoming a site for emancipatory change. A particular view of leadership premised upon liberal theories of abstract individualism and bureaucratic rationality, and supported by positivistic theories of knowledge which privilege universal laws of administration and human behaviour, has become dominant in educational administration. The universal individual central to this perspective of leadership is modelled upon men’s experience. Hierarchical relationships are considered to be the ‘givens’

of ‘rational’ organizational life. Leaders display attributes and behaviours, possess moral virtues and principles, which are generally associated with ‘masculinity’. It is a view which has effectively displaced women in educational thought, and therefore rendered women invisible in administrative practice (Martin, 1984). Currently it is epitomized in the view of school principals as corporate managers.