Arar, Khalid, and Tamar Shapira. “Hijab and Principalship: The Interplay between Belief Systems, Educational Management and Gender among Arab Muslim Women in Israel.” Gender and Education (early view; online first).
This paper discusses the decision of Muslim female principals in Israel to don the hijab following their appointment to school principalship. This research employed narrative life-story interviews to understand the women’s decision to alter their appearance and how this transition is connected to their role as female school principals in the indigenous Muslim community in Israel and the reaction they faced both in personal and professional spheres. The principals’ narratives elucidate that transition to wearing the hijab was a matter of choice and collective belonging; it empowers them and affected their leadership style, although it also provokes others’ resistance and reactions. Findings clarify the social and personal identity of Arab Muslim women school principals in Israel, and point to the need for consideration of traditional cultural contexts, to enrich managerial theory. This understanding also supports the argument that governmental and organizational policies and initiatives should recognize the diversity in Muslim women’s backgrounds and the dangers of privileging mainstream women’s perspectives.