Special Issue "Women and Leadership in Higher Education"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Gender Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Kate White

School of Arts, Federation University Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: gender, leadership and higher education, women’s academic careers, and women in science
Guest Editor
Dr. Paula Burkinshaw

Management Division, Leeds University Business School
Website | E-Mail
Interests: missing women in higher education leadership, exploring gendered cultures and staff engagement in health and academic medicine, and leadership diversity in the retail sector

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will examine the continuing under-representation of women in higher education (HE) leadership globally. The main emphasis in the gender and HE literature has been on identifying the barriers—internal, interactional, structural and cultural—that impede women’s progress in academic organisations and their promotion to leadership positions. However, Morley (2013, p.126) notes: “There is scant coverage of success stories of women accessing authority and facilitating feminist change”.

Similarly, much emphasis has been placed on the deficit model which positions women as lacking for top jobs, and institutions therefore needing to ‘fix the women’. Rather, as joint editors, we are interested in ‘fixing the organisations’ (Burkinshaw and White, 2017) so that women and other underrepresented people feel welcome, supported and comfortable in aspiring to leadership roles.  Otherwise institutions will perpetuate hegemonic masculine leadership models, with younger women resisting promotion and focusing their ambitions elsewhere.

How HE prepares and develops people for leadership also deserves scrutiny. Invariably leadership development programmes fail to affect significant change in inter-generational leadership teams despite much energy and resources being dedicated to addressing this lack of diversity.

Hence the Special Issue invites contributions from researchers working broadly in the area of women and leadership in public universities.  These contributions might explore:

  • Current barriers to women moving into HE leadership, including recruitment, promotion and retention
  • Commentaries on the impact of feminism on higher education leadership
  • Disciplinary differences in women accessing HE leadership
  • Evaluations of leadership development initiatives which make a difference such as women’s only leadership programs, sponsorship and mentoring
  • Case studies of institutions where change is occurring, and women are thriving
  • The impact of diversity measures, such as Athena SWAN
  • Comparative studies on generational similarities and differences
  • Women’s resistance to leadership and their alternative ambitions
  • Reflections from women about their careers and leadership contributions
  • Theoretical or conceptual frameworks which explore the ongoing challenges

Dr. Kate White
Dr. Paula Burkinshaw
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 double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. 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

  • women
  • leadership
  • gender
  • masculine models
  • leadership development
  • resistance
  • careers

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Mobility, Gender and Career Development in Higher Education: Results of a Multi-Country Survey of African Academic Scientists
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060188
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
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Abstract
Empirical knowledge of the mobility of African scientists, and women scientists in particular, holds an important key to achieving future success in the science systems of the continent. In this article, we report on an analysis of a subset of data from a [...] Read more.
Empirical knowledge of the mobility of African scientists, and women scientists in particular, holds an important key to achieving future success in the science systems of the continent. In this article, we report on an analysis of a subset of data from a multi-country survey, in order to address a lack of evidence on the geographic mobility of academic scientists in Africa, and how it relates to gender and career development. First, we compared women and men from 41 African countries in terms of their educational and work-related mobility, as well as their intention to be mobile. We further investigated these gendered patterns of mobility in terms domestic responsibilities, as well as the career-related variables of research output, international collaboration, and receipt of funding. Our focus then narrowed to only those women scientists who had recently been mobile, to provide insights on the benefits mobility offered them. The results are interpreted within a theoretical framework centered on patriarchy. Our findings lead us to challenge some conventional wisdoms, as well as recommend priorities for future research aimed at understanding, both theoretically and empirically, the mobility of women in the science systems of Africa, and the role it may play in their development as academic leaders in African higher education institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Women in Higher Education Management: Agents for Cultural and Structural Change?
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060172
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 28 May 2019 / Published: 5 June 2019
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Abstract
This article examines whether and under which conditions a rising participation of women in higher education management contributes to cultural and structural change in science and research. In Austria, the introduction of a statutory quota regulation for university decision-making bodies like the rectorate, [...] Read more.
This article examines whether and under which conditions a rising participation of women in higher education management contributes to cultural and structural change in science and research. In Austria, the introduction of a statutory quota regulation for university decision-making bodies like the rectorate, the senate, or the university council brought about a rapid and substantial increase in the share of female rectors and vice rectors. However, there are also gender-specific differences among rectorate members: women are significantly younger than men when they take up a rectorate position and switch less frequently from a professorship to such a position. This situation and the gender expertise of the rectors and vice rectors themselves contribute to the potential for change. Explicit gender equality goals and the establishment of gender competence as a qualification criterion for all rectors and vice rectors would be needed to make use of the potential of women in the rectorate to be agents for cultural and structural change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Increasing Gender Diversity in Higher Education Leadership: The Role of Executive Search Firms
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060168
Received: 3 February 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 1 June 2019
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Abstract
Women are under-represented in leadership roles in United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Existing scholarship focuses on institutional barriers, which include cognitive bias and entrenched homosocial cultures, rather than external factors such as the use of executive search firms (ESFs) in recruitment and [...] Read more.
Women are under-represented in leadership roles in United Kingdom Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Existing scholarship focuses on institutional barriers, which include cognitive bias and entrenched homosocial cultures, rather than external factors such as the use of executive search firms (ESFs) in recruitment and selection. Recent research indicates that the use of ESFs is increasing for senior HEI appointments. This analysis offers insights on these firms’ involvement from a gender equality perspective, based on the results from a study that used a ‘virtuous circle’ approach to research and knowledge exchange. The requirement for HEIs to pay ‘due regard’ to equality considerations under the Public Sector Equality Duty provides a framework for analysis. This paper provides new insights on the dynamics within recruitment processes when ESFs are involved and on how a legislative approach can leverage better equality outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
Open AccessCommunication
The Challenges for Gender Equity and Women in Leadership in a Distributed University in Regional Australia
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(6), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8060165
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 30 May 2019
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Abstract
The barriers to women’s achievement and career progression in the higher education sector have been well researched. It has long been acknowledged that career breaks for child-rearing, and women’s self-beliefs about their abilities can impact negatively on their careers, and many programs and [...] Read more.
The barriers to women’s achievement and career progression in the higher education sector have been well researched. It has long been acknowledged that career breaks for child-rearing, and women’s self-beliefs about their abilities can impact negatively on their careers, and many programs and policies have been implemented to redress these around the world. This article is focussed around a regional Australian university, with multiple campuses distributed over 1000 km across two states. Courses, schools, and work teams are often spread across multiple campuses, and travel between campuses is sometimes a necessity; one that is time-consuming and requires time away from family. For some women, travelling is not possible due to family and other commitments or constraints. This paper explores how working in a regional university, with distributed campuses, has an additional impact on women’s career progression. Through auto-ethnographic accounts of four female staff members, we explore the intersection of gender and location through case studies of personal experiences, investigating the effects that distance and travel limitations can have on participation in work team and networking events, access to professional development opportunities, and career progression within the institution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
Open AccessArticle
The Glass Door of Academia: Unveiling New Gendered Bias in Academic Recruitment
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050160
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
Gender statistics and studies on gendering mechanisms have been developing over recent years on two parallel tracks. This research reveals the need to rethink the standard indicators used in European comparative analyses to identify (1) gender-related mechanisms responsible for the production and reproduction [...] Read more.
Gender statistics and studies on gendering mechanisms have been developing over recent years on two parallel tracks. This research reveals the need to rethink the standard indicators used in European comparative analyses to identify (1) gender-related mechanisms responsible for the production and reproduction processes of gender asymmetries, (2) their specificities in different local contexts, and (3) the profound transformations that have characterized the academies and the research system in Europe in recent years. The paper analyses the data on the composition of Italian academia provided by the Italian Ministry of Education, universities and research from a gender perspective. The introduction of the glass door index, specifically designed to measure gendering processes taking place in the recruitment stages in Italian academia, discloses new forms of gender segregation in Italian universities after the last academic reform (Law 240/2010), despite the emphasis placed on the neutral and meritocratic criteria of the new recruitment and career progression rules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
A Women-Only Leadership Development Program: Facilitating Access to Authority for Women in Swedish Higher Education?
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(5), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8050137
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 28 April 2019 / Accepted: 29 April 2019 / Published: 2 May 2019
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Abstract
This article explores a national women-only leadership development program in Swedish higher education, the so-called IDAS program (an acronym for Identity, Development, Advancement, Support). IDAS encouraged and supported women academics to pursue leadership/administrative careers in higher education and was a unique intervention, aiming [...] Read more.
This article explores a national women-only leadership development program in Swedish higher education, the so-called IDAS program (an acronym for Identity, Development, Advancement, Support). IDAS encouraged and supported women academics to pursue leadership/administrative careers in higher education and was a unique intervention, aiming to increase the number of women Rectors. By drawing on interviews with some of the women who participated in the IDAS program and subsequently became Rectors, the article provides a valuable case study over best practices to increase women senior leaders in higher education. Notwithstanding the success of the leadership program, the article also deals with resistance and criticism linked to equal opportunity initiatives such as this. The article analyzes the criticism voiced by the women interviewed and suggests that it can be understood in relation to different conceptions of gender and gender (in)equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
Open AccessArticle
Is It Working? An Impact Evaluation of the German “Women Professors Program”
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040116
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
The Women Professors Program, which was initiated in Germany in 2008, aims to increase the proportion of women professors and to promote structural change in favour of gender equality at higher education institutions (HEIs). It is one of the central gender equality policies [...] Read more.
The Women Professors Program, which was initiated in Germany in 2008, aims to increase the proportion of women professors and to promote structural change in favour of gender equality at higher education institutions (HEIs). It is one of the central gender equality policies in higher education in Germany. The present study evaluates the impact of the program by estimating its causal effects on the proportion of women professors. By adopting a quasi-experimental approach and using a unique dataset—a long term census of German HEIs—the study proves that the proportion of women professors increased more than would have been expected in the absence of the program. Although the evaluation includes preliminary estimates of mechanisms driving the described impacts, the integration of context factors and mechanisms into the assessment of the impact of gender equality policies remains a desideratum. The study shows that the program is working, and it contributes to redressing the lack of impact studies on gender equality in science and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women and Leadership in Higher Education)
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