Sociological Study of Women’s Educational Networks in India: Changing Lives From the Ground Up

Author: Tobin, Marilyn H.
The analysis of educational networks from a feminist perspective has not been substantially researched internationally. This study investigates the potential for networking as a leadership tool for change in not only classrooms, but also in school systems and the political arena.


“This landmark monograph identifies the success and struggles of Indian women educators to effect change within their society during the later years of the 20th Century. It seems that the articulation of ideals such as equity and inclusion, however difficult a hurdle, might have been an easier goal to achieve than sustaining the long struggle against unexamined prejudices and willful opposition. However, perhaps one of the long-term outcomes of this study is a reenergized leadership.” – Prof. E. Lisbeth Donaldson, University of Calgary

“The manuscript is well written, fluent, coherent and logical. Dr. Tobin drew from survey and qualitative data provided by women teachers in India and created a framework for understanding how women overcome barriers of family and time constraints, language, gendered backlash, irregular communication, gender imbalance, lack of support from male executives, entrenched traditional values, female passivity barriers and finances to instill belief in their capacity to live and work as efficacious, influential individuals and groups. I found this framework to be a contribution to the literature. She argued the logic of the framework and indicated its utility.” – Prof. Tom Gougeon, University of Calgary

“By exploring networking as an educational leadership strategy and doing so with Indian colleagues from the SAARC Women's Network, Dr. Tobin has undertaken a challenging and worthwhile study. Her account of this collaborative approach, as well as her findings, makes a unique contribution to the international research on women in educational administration and leadership. The section on “Women in India” was particularly welcome background for this reader and, of course, a necessary indicator of the researcher’s own cross-cultural consciousness. In her section, the Researcher's Reflexive Notes, Dr. Tobin offers us a noteworthy elaboration of her cross-cultural experiences related to undertaking this study.” – Prof. Beth Young, University of Alberta

“. . . an excellent work. . . [This is] an area of work which has received very little attention although it is necessary to strengthen the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) network for long time peace in the region. It is a fact that women quite often draw support from groups working towards common aims. It also gives them the courage to resist outmoded familial and societal norms. This has been well brought out in [Dr. Tobin’s] work.” – Dr. Kavita A. Sharma, Director India International Centre

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Foreword by E. Lisbeth Donaldson
1. Setting the Research Stage
2. Women Leaders, Networks, and the Indian Context
3. The “What and How” of the Research Project”
4. The Effects of Networking on Women Teachers’ Lives
5. Enhanced Professional Opportunities
6. Perceptions of Network Effectiveness
7. Summaries, Explanations, New Understandings
8. Reflections, Extensions, and Possibilities
Appendix A. Research Rationale
Appendix B. Summary of the Meta-Synthesis
Appendix C. Focus and Interview Conversation Starters
Appendix D. Hierarchy of Questions for the Questionnaire
Appendix E. Phase II Questionnaire
Appendix F. Links between Questions, Phases, and Data Collection
Appendix G. Permission to Conduct Research
Appendix H. Perceptions of Network Effectiveness
Appendix I. Access to Technology
Appendix J. Patterns of High Agreement in Responses
Appendix K. Patterns of Low Agreement in Responses
Appendix L. Patterns of Disagreement in Responses