Special Issue "Perspectives on Women’s Higher Education Leadership from around the World"

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387). This special issue belongs to the section "Leadership".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2017).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Karen Jones
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Guest Editor
Institute of Education, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK
Interests: gender and women’s leadership; leadership learning; learning transfer
Dr. Arta Ante
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Gender Equality Office, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Interests: social development; communication; gender and diversity; art and cultural management
Prof. Dr. Karen A. Longman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Higher Education, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, USA
Interests: faith-based higher education; gender issues; leadership development; identity development; barriers/encouragers to women’s leadership
Dr. Robyn Remke
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Leadership and Management, Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK
Interests: communication; diversity management; women and leadership

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The significant underrepresentation of women in higher education leadership can be observed in virtually every country around the world, as documented over the past decade in the research literature. This research has led to a deeper understanding of the exclusionary structures, processes, and prior practices that collectively create obstacles for women at various stages of their career.

This Special Issue will include a variety of articles that document the state of women in higher education leadership from various countries and geographic regions. Additionally of interest are articles that support the business and social justice case for more fully tapping the skills and talent of women in postsecondary settings. Higher education institutions are drivers of social change and economic development. They generally promote diversity as a core value and provide a model for other sectors to follow. It is against this background that a plethora of policies, practices and initiatives has addressed the absence of women in higher education leadership and gender equality. The efficiency and outcomes of these measures remain limited, however, despite significant structural and cultural change mechanisms at place.

This Special Issue will bring together both empirical and theoretical perspectives that provide unique perspectives on the specific challenges facing women aspiring to and/or working in higher education leadership. Because the issue will be international in scope, the Guest Editors seek proposals from scholars working in a variety of cultural contexts. We particularly encourage interdisciplinary methods, critical/feminist theory and diverse methodological approaches.

Dr. Karen Jones
Dr. Arta Ante
Prof. Dr. Karen A. Longman
Dr. Robyn Remke
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Administrative Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

Note that all article proposals should focus on some aspect of the overall special issue theme of “Women’s Higher Education Leadership.” Examples of themes potentially relevant to this Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

  • the history and current state of women’s higher education leadership in specific national/cultural contexts
  • intersections of gender, race, age, class and sexuality
  • language, communication and gender
  • popular media, gender and women’s leadership in higher education
  • the politics of gender
  • the economics of gender
  • motivators and/or sources of resistence related to women’s leadership advancement
  • negotiating gender equality and social justice
  • the impact and implications of working in male-normed academic cultures
  • women’s impact on decision making shaping higher education policy and practice
  • best practice case studies
  • exemplars of women leading effectively (e.g., narratives, portraiture approach)
  • diverse methodological approaches (quantitative/qualitative)

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Perspectives on Women’s Higher Education Leadership from Around the World
Adm. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8030035 - 19 Jul 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
Numerous studies in recent years have tracked dimensions related to the status of women both within specific countries and from an international perspective [...] Full article

Research

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Article
How Organizational Culture Shapes Women’s Leadership Experiences
Adm. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8020008 - 22 Mar 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5280
Abstract
This article presents the findings of a grounded theory study that examined the role of organizational culture and organizational fit in the leadership aspirations and experiences of 16 women working in faith-based colleges and universities in the U.S. Specifically, the researchers sought to [...] Read more.
This article presents the findings of a grounded theory study that examined the role of organizational culture and organizational fit in the leadership aspirations and experiences of 16 women working in faith-based colleges and universities in the U.S. Specifically, the researchers sought to understand what aspects of organizational culture at the home institutions of these participants influenced their employment experiences, including their considerations and decisions related to aspiring to and/or advancing into leadership. Analysis of the interview data indicated that the participants clustered into four subgroups: (1) participants who did not perceive that gender issues in the culture influenced their work or roles within the institution; (2) participants who reported that they did not perceive gender issues to be an institutional problem; however, they cited examples of problematic systems and cultures; (3) participants who identified gender inequalities at their institution, but indicated that such problems impacted them only minimally, if at all; and (4) participants who offered explicit criticism regarding the gendered dynamics evident in the culture in their institutions and in Christian higher education more broadly. Influences on leadership aspirations or experiences were identified as either being “push” (i.e., propelling the participant away from the organization and thus diminishing aspirations or willingness to move into or remain in leadership) or “pull” (i.e., drawing the participant into further engagement with the organization, thus increasing the desire to become or remain a leader in that context), with particular attention to the context of faith-based higher education. The article concludes with a brief discussion of implications for practice for individuals and postsecondary institutions. Full article
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Article
Ascending: An Exploration of Women’s Leadership Advancement in the Role of Board of Trustee Chair
Adm. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8010007 - 14 Mar 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1770
Abstract
While women have made strides in leadership in the higher education sector there continues to be dismal representation of women in executive level roles of governance at colleges and universities. This article presents findings from a study that explored skills that women have [...] Read more.
While women have made strides in leadership in the higher education sector there continues to be dismal representation of women in executive level roles of governance at colleges and universities. This article presents findings from a study that explored skills that women have identified as being useful in their ascent to the role of trustee board chair. The ascension patterns of the participants are explored through a qualitative process to provide a path to success for other women to follow. The article concludes with suggestions for increasing the number of women serving in the capacity of board chair. Full article
Article
Frank and Fearless: Supporting Academic Career Progression for Women in an Australian Program
Adm. Sci. 2018, 8(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci8010005 - 27 Feb 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2461
Abstract
The underrepresentation of women in senior positions continues to be a major challenge in higher education and most other industries. In Australia, the career trajectory for academic women stalls at a lower level than that of their male counterparts. Concern about this situation [...] Read more.
The underrepresentation of women in senior positions continues to be a major challenge in higher education and most other industries. In Australia, the career trajectory for academic women stalls at a lower level than that of their male counterparts. Concern about this situation in one Australian university led to the design and delivery of a career progression program to support women’s advancement from senior lecturer to associate professor. This study details the main features of the program, designed to facilitate women’s transition from being leading academics to academic leaders through a focus on leadership and career progression. We report the participants’ perceptions of its value based on survey data. We conclude that leadership development is difficult work and requires a supportive environment where risk-taking is encouraged, where frank and fearless feedback is provided, and where the individual is required to examine assumptions and biases and to assume a leadership identity. Full article
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Article
Fixing the Women or Fixing Universities: Women in HE Leadership
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030030 - 21 Aug 2017
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 5134
Abstract
The lack of women in leadership across higher education has been problemitised in the literature. Often contemporary discourses promote ‘fixing the women’ as a solution. Consequently, interventions aimed at helping women break through ‘the glass ceiling’ abound. This article argues that the gendered [...] Read more.
The lack of women in leadership across higher education has been problemitised in the literature. Often contemporary discourses promote ‘fixing the women’ as a solution. Consequently, interventions aimed at helping women break through ‘the glass ceiling’ abound. This article argues that the gendered power relations at play in universities stubbornly maintain entrenched inequalities whereby, regardless of measures implemented for and by women, the problem remains. The precariousness for women of leadership careers is explored through two separate but complementary case studies (from different continents and different generations) each one illuminating gender power relations at work. The article concludes by arguing that it is universities themselves that need fixing, not the women, and that women’s growing resistance, particularly of the younger generation, reflects their dissatisfaction with higher education leadership communities of practice of masculinities. Full article
Article
Towards Social Justice in Institutions of Higher Learning: Addressing Gender Inequality in Science & Technology through Capability Approach
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030022 - 08 Jul 2017
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2696
Abstract
The focus of the study is to examine and relocate gender equality in higher education using Capability Approach as the background frame. The paper discusses how gender relations are rooted in the socio-cultural matrix in India. It attempts to explore the factors prevalent [...] Read more.
The focus of the study is to examine and relocate gender equality in higher education using Capability Approach as the background frame. The paper discusses how gender relations are rooted in the socio-cultural matrix in India. It attempts to explore the factors prevalent in the structure which impacts woman’s opportunities and functionalities in the higher education. The database includes faculty from one of the central universities of South India, the study deals with the dynamics of constructs in Science and Technology indicating socio-psychological obstructions faced by women. Based on thorough analysis, the oppressed capabilities are conceptualized thereby enabling the researchers to relocate the gender equality and the capabilities that need to be enriched for women can be contemplated which helps in reducing the existing disparity. The intention of the study is essentially not to quantify the attributes of inequality to make them measurable but to choose attributes which enable an effective comparative basis to address inequality. The empirical study reveals an existence of the element of stereotyping as a single entity and capability approach restores the uniqueness by the fractional combination of capabilities listed. Full article
Article
Women and Leadership in Higher Education in China: Discourse and the Discursive Construction of Identity
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7030021 - 29 Jun 2017
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4849
Abstract
Prior research indicates that just 4.5 percent of mainland China’s higher educational institution leaders are female. This article extends theory and research by drawing attention to identity and Discourse as an important, yet under-researched, aspect of the problem of women’s underrepresentation in higher [...] Read more.
Prior research indicates that just 4.5 percent of mainland China’s higher educational institution leaders are female. This article extends theory and research by drawing attention to identity and Discourse as an important, yet under-researched, aspect of the problem of women’s underrepresentation in higher education leadership. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with nine female academics in Chinese universities and informed by discursive approaches to identity and constructionist views, we analyze how women construct multiple identities, the interplay of identities, and the influence of broader societal Discourses of gender and leadership. The findings highlight the interplay between competing multiple identities, and illustrate how the women’s identities are shaped and constrained by dominant historical and cultural Discourses in Chinese society, which results in identity regulation (Alvesson and Billing 2009), notably identity positioning that is congruent with social norms and conventions. A key finding is that the female academics reject the leader identity. This is true for those in middle management positions, as well as women in early career stages, who might otherwise aspire to leadership. Implications for the leadership pipeline in China’s universities is discussed and recommendations are made for future research directions. Full article
Article
The Implications of Contractual Terms of Employment for Women and Leadership: An Autoethnographic Study in UK Higher Education
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7020020 - 14 Jun 2017
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2959
Abstract
This article is concerned with the implications of casual, non-permanent forms of employment that have become a common cultural practice in higher education. It proposes that contractual terms of employment have important implications for women and leadership in higher education, since to pursue [...] Read more.
This article is concerned with the implications of casual, non-permanent forms of employment that have become a common cultural practice in higher education. It proposes that contractual terms of employment have important implications for women and leadership in higher education, since to pursue leadership, usually one must first gain permanency in an organization, in contractual terms. Based on an autoethnographic study by a female academic in a UK higher education institution, the article illustrates that temporary forms of employment, should they be protracted, can stifle leadership aspirations due to lack of career progression opportunities and lead to a sense of alienation from the target community of practice, and even to personal difficulties, such as feelings of isolation and poor self-esteem. The article discusses theoretical and practical implications for women’s leadership arising from the findings and makes recommendations for improvements in practice in the higher education sector. The findings and recommendations from this study will also be relevant to other organizational contexts where casual or temporary, fixed term, zero-hours non-permanent forms of employment are common. Full article
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Article
Increasing Gender Diversity in Senior Roles in HE: Who Is Afraid of Positive Action?
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7020019 - 08 Jun 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4826
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Article
Rethinking Women’s Leadership Development: Voices from the Trenches
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7020018 - 31 May 2017
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4338
Abstract
As recent graduates of a women’s-only leadership development program in higher education in the United States, we used autoethnography as a research methodology to provide critical insight into effective women’s leadership programming and evaluation. The potential of this methodology as both a learning [...] Read more.
As recent graduates of a women’s-only leadership development program in higher education in the United States, we used autoethnography as a research methodology to provide critical insight into effective women’s leadership programming and evaluation. The potential of this methodology as both a learning process and product helped elucidate two key findings: (1) to effectively develop women leaders, work must be done at the personal, interpersonal, and organizational levels, as these levels are interrelated and interdependent; and (2) women’s multiple identities must be engaged. Therefore, relationship-building should be a central learning outcome and facilitated through program curricula, pedagogical methods, and evaluation. Including autoethnography as a program evaluation methodology fills a gap in the literature on leadership development, and supports our goal of making meaning of our personal experiences in order to enhance women’s leadership development. Full article
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Review

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Review
An Overview of the Current State of Women’s Leadership in Higher Education in Saudi Arabia and a Proposal for Future Research Directions
Adm. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci7040036 - 12 Oct 2017
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5715
Abstract
Despite the predominance of perspectives on women’s leadership, which consistently emphasize the underrepresentation of women in virtually every sphere of political and economic life in countries around the world, very little is known about women’s leadership, especially in higher education, in the Kingdom [...] Read more.
Despite the predominance of perspectives on women’s leadership, which consistently emphasize the underrepresentation of women in virtually every sphere of political and economic life in countries around the world, very little is known about women’s leadership, especially in higher education, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). This has resulted in a gap in the literature, since higher education is one area of employment where Saudi women have made progress, and in spite of complex social, religious, cultural and organisational barriers, some have broken through the glass ceiling into higher education leadership. One goal of this paper is to highlight, through a synthesis of existing literature, the current state of women’s higher education leadership in Saudi Arabia. The second goal of this paper is to propose new directions for future research to address the current dearth of empirical work on women’s leadership in higher education in Saudi Arabia. This may be relevant to other regions of the Middle East and elsewhere. Full article
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