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Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 19; doi:10.3390/admsci7020019

Increasing Gender Diversity in Senior Roles in HE: Who Is Afraid of Positive Action?

Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
Academic Editors: Karen Jones, Arta Ante, Karen A. Longman and Robyn Remke
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [442 KB, uploaded 8 June 2017]   |  


This article argues that Higher Education Institutions should adopt positive action in recruitment and promotion to tackle women’s under-representation in senior leadership roles. In a tie-break situation where two candidates are “as qualified as each other”, section 159 of the UK Equality Act 2010 allows employers to give preference to a candidate from an under-represented group. The use of this measure, however, is often contested on the grounds that it is a form of reverse discrimination, it is tokenistic and that it can undermine meritocracy. This article seeks to challenge these objections and suggests that, far from undermining meritocracy, the use of positive action in recruitment and promotion could prove a useful tool to tackle gender bias, unpack stereotypes and re-appraise how merit is defined and assessed. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender diversity; leadership; higher education; positive action gender diversity; leadership; higher education; positive action

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Manfredi, S. Increasing Gender Diversity in Senior Roles in HE: Who Is Afraid of Positive Action? Adm. Sci. 2017, 7, 19.

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