You Never Show You Can't Cope: Women in school leadership roles managing their emotions

Judyth Sachs*, Jill Blackmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, as elsewhere, education systems and schools are being reformed and restructured. Leadership in times of change is a highly emotionally charged activity. People working in leadership positions are constantly being assailed by the emotional demands placed on them by their peers, students and members of the community. Drawing on the experiences of a group of women in leadership positions in primary and secondary schools in Queensland, Australia, the author illustrates the emotional labour of these women negotiating the demands of continual change. In this article it is argued that the emotions of people working in leadership positions are regulated by emotional rules that are implicit within the organisational ethos of the education system and the school itself. Their emotional responses are shaped by the contextual exigencies in which they work. In the final part of the article the author proposes that there is a need to understand how women are negotiating the emotional terrain that is a consequence of change in their schools and poses some questions that could be used to guide future research activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalGender and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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