Women leaders in higher education: shattering the myths Book uri icon


  • In Western democratic countries, the feminization of the paid labour force has been one of the more important social and economic changes of the twentieth century. These changes heralded profound cultural challenges to expectations of women’s social, political and economic participation and stimulated widespread debate about gender equity for women in education and employment across the public and private sectors. However, the significant under-representation of women in senior leadership roles in higher education remains. Drawing extensively on narratives from women leaders and their female colleagues, the author examines the everyday experiences of women in senior leadership roles in an environment in which White women are a numerical minority and Indigenous women are a rare presence. These stories are not about triumph over adversity; they trace the ambiguities, contradictions, pleasures and ambivalences that women leaders experience. Importantly, the author brings into sharp relief the difficult and complicated territory that exists between women leaders and their female colleagues. This has the potential to produce a dissonance between how leaders view themselves and how they are viewed. Women Leaders in Higher Education will be essential reading for anyone involved or interested in higher education policy and management, academic leadership, organizational diversity and gender studies.

publication date

  • 2014