Fixing the Women or Fixing Universities: Women in HE Leadership
1.1. Literature Review
2.1. Case Study 1
Just them [men] being louder, talking more, dominating more, whether it’s round the board table or any kind of meeting men tend to be more assertive and more confident about what they are saying and they express what they are saying in a different way as well. Women use words like, perhaps, potentially, like, might wish, but the sayings, the verbs and adjectives for men are different ones. The language they use is different.
I think a lot of male leaders repeat themselves and use up air time, this is a bit tricky, and I think that there is a danger for women if they do that because women who take up air time will be seen to be taking up air time and men are not seen to be taking up air time so women can’t behave like that because it’s not seen the same way.
there’s something about this rather male dominated environment that says they see these pushy bright men as having more potential. Women who are perhaps not shouting so much about what they are doing, I don’t know what it is, who are actually good or sometimes better at work are not being tapped on the shoulder.
It might be a male culture but there are certain things you cannot do at work. Losing emotional control, you cannot do. It’s a sort of no-no.
I think leadership is defined by powerful leadership, it’s if you look at the words you use to describe leaders they tend to be male words and sometimes they put in the odd thing about nurturing and engaging people, that’s a girly thing. Things like that. They tend to be male in that sense. Actually, the way that the leadership club works tends to be like that, a club. Let’s have a beer. Let’s meet for breakfast. That’s all the constructs about meetings. You go to meetings and you have to stand from the floor and orate. That’s a very male thing, rather than sitting down and having a discussion.
I think sometimes women think that they do have to behave in this way too. Probably I find myself occasionally doing it and recognizing it’s not my natural way of behaving and I see it occasionally in other women. Whether it’s the women that get into roles like that have a bit of male feistiness about them and they are prepared to put themselves in that position or when they are there they change their behaviour. It’s about survival partly.
I look at my own personal growth I think personally in trying to establish how I am comfortable operating. In the early days, it was power suit dressing time and there was a lot of emulating of what men would have done. I was not immune to that. I think nurture versus nature. You are influenced by what’s going on and what you are about.
So, I think there’s a group going through where there is a range of masculinity. It’s not just what you wear, that you have to wear a suit. It’s not that. It’s, the way I see it, it’s by being female and entering the room I am different. I can extenuate or reduce the differences. And that puts them at their ease.
2.2. Case Study 2
Women at this institution are so poorly represented in leadership.I believe that women face different challenges to men. It is difficult to break into a traditionally male domain in higher education.The academic environment of the university-sector is generally masculinised; strong “boys” networks are in operation; academic promotion still favours male applicants. Issues confronting women are different, as they generally have many conflicting roles to juggle because of the glaring gender inequities in the workplace.
much of the ‘advice’ was focused on us changing rather than us working together to fix the system that is the problem. Without real “buy in” from the university’s leadership and our male colleagues nothing will change.
I felt we were being encouraged to ‘play the game’ to get ahead and then ‘manage’ people so that they do what we want regardless of the adverse effects this may have on them. While this may pass as leadership at [the case study university], it really isn’t.…my overall experience is one of frustration because, in isolation, such a program changes nothing—I do not see any evidence of the leadership of the university doing anything to improve things for their women employees and I do not want more ‘leaders’ trained in ways that emulate the poor leadership I see throughout our university.
Work is a very stressful place at times and I am at a very unstable place at present. I used to be able to cope with workplace stress but in the last two years I am less able to cope. I do not think as clearly as I used to and it is almost like I have forgotten everything I know.
Conflicts of Interest
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Burkinshaw, P.; White, K. Fixing the Women or Fixing Universities: Women in HE Leadership. Adm. Sci. 2017, 7, 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030030
Burkinshaw P, White K. Fixing the Women or Fixing Universities: Women in HE Leadership. Administrative Sciences. 2017; 7(3):30. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030030Chicago/Turabian Style
Burkinshaw, Paula, and Kate White. 2017. "Fixing the Women or Fixing Universities: Women in HE Leadership" Administrative Sciences 7, no. 3: 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030030