Gender-Based Leadership Barriers: Advancement of Female Faculty to Leadership Positions in Higher Education

Gender-Based Leadership Barriers: Advancement of Female Faculty to Leadership Positions in Higher Education

Valerie A. Storey (University of Central Florida, USA), Amanda K. Anthony (University of Central Florida, USA) and Parveen Wahid (University of Central Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch018
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Abstract

This chapter identifies gender-based leadership barriers according to socio-historical, institutional, and interactional factors that may be external and internal to universities, yet influence women's advancement in the context of higher education. The review suggests problems of under-representation of female faculty leaders in higher education derives from stereotypes attached to women regarding their lack of capacity to hold leadership positions and, consequentially, barriers to navigate the perceived masculine world of leadership. We conclude with contemporary evidence-practices scholars have put forth for addressing gender-based leadership barriers.
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Introduction

“Gender-based leadership barriers,” is a general phrase referring to the more or less visible obstacles in women’s advancement to leadership positions. In this chapter, we specifically explore such barriers in the context of higher education.1 As promising female faculty leaders face limited access to leadership positions in comparison to male faculty leaders, one of the greatest barriers for women holding formal leadership positions in higher education institutions may be gender discrimination (Cubillo & Brown, 2003; Dunn, Gerlach, & Hyle, 2014; Kruse & Prettyman, 2008; Philipsen, 2008; Shakeshaft, 1993; Wolverton, Bower & Hyle, 2009). There have been varied well-documented gender-based reform efforts in higher education to provide women with the same advancements opportunities as their male colleagues (Philipsen, 2008). Yet, studies continue to document the lack of women in positional leadership roles (Gangone & Lennon, 2014). According to Young and Kochan (2004), the problem of under-representation of female faculty leaders in higher education is primarily due to stereotypes attached to women regarding their lack of capacity to hold leadership positions and, consequentially, their inability to gain entrance into the perceived masculine world of leadership (Cubillo & Brown, 2003; Dunn, Gerlach, & Hyle, 2014). Through internalization of gendered stereotypes and related interactions, many female faculty tend to perceive themselves as less deserving of praise or promotion for the same performance as male leaders (Madsen, 2008). Therefore, this chapter identifies gender-based leadership barriers according to socio-historical, institutional, and interactional factors that may be external and internal to universities, yet influence women’s advancement in the context of higher education. We conclude with new directions in evidence-practices scholars have put forth for addressing gender-based leadership barriers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interactional Factors: From a social constructionist perspective, social processes in everyday interactions help to construct reality and from a symbolic interactionist perspective, people act towards things based on the meanings they have for them and these meanings derive from interactions and these meanings are modified through a process of interpretation (Berger & Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality and Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism ).

Higher Education Institution: An educational institution in any State that admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education and is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; provides an educational program for which the institution awards a bachelor’s degree, or awards a degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program, subject to review and approval by the Secretary; and is a public or other nonprofit accredited institution (20 U.S. Code § 1001 - General definition of institution of higher education).

Faculty Leadership Forum: The intent of an FLF is for faculty to gain a shared understanding of culturally derived gender stereotypes and develop capacities to apply leadership knowledge, competencies, and skills to their professional practice in order to develop leadership effectiveness, positive perception of individual leadership skills, and ultimately the neutralization of gender stereotypes.

Organizational Culture: The “interwoven pattern of beliefs, values, practices, and artifacts that define for members who they are and how they are to do things” ( Bolman & Deal, 1997 , p. 217).

Women and Leadership: A complex, intertwined concept. More than 3,000 empirical investigations of leadership provided varied definitions of what leadership means. Common to many however is that the term leadership implies movement, taking the organization or some part of it in a new direction, solving problems, being creative, initiating new programs, building organizational structures, and improving quality ( Davis, 2003 , p. 4).

Authentic Leadership: “A metaphor for professionally effective, ethically sound, and consciously reflective practices in educational administration” ( Begley, 2004 , p. 4-5).

Gender Based Leadership Barriers: General phrase referring to the more or less visible obstacles in women’s advancement to leadership positions.

Gender Stereotyping: “Rigid, oversimplified, exaggerated beliefs about femininity and masculinity that misrepresent most women and men” (Joan Z. Spade & Catherine G. Valentine, editors. The Kaleidoscope of Gender , 4 th edition. 2014. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. p. xiv).

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