Debates on the absence of women in senior organizational roles continue to proliferate but relatively little attention is paid to the Higher Education (HE) context in which women in leadership roles are seriously under-represented. However, higher education is now central to UK political discourse given the growing controversy around student fees, vice chancellors’ remuneration’ and Brexit. This paper draws on a collaborative research study on the experiences of 105 senior women leaders across 3 UK Universities, which elicited accounts of constraints, successes and career highlights. Our research findings present empirical insights that expose the continuing gender inequalities most notable in senior Higher Education roles. Women’s accounts include stories of diverse experiences, on-going discriminatory practices and a failure to recognise the embedded gendered inequalities that continue to prevail in these institutions. Through a critical interrogation of the narratives of female professors and building on insights from a seminal paper by Broadbridge and Simpson a conceptual framework is offered as a heuristic device to capture critical and reflexive data in future studies of equality and inequality in leadership roles.
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