Women as Academic Leaders in Higher Education

Topics: Leadership, Higher education, Gender role Pages: 11 (3873 words) Published: February 23, 2011
Women as Academic Leaders in Higher Education

Aparna Raj
Professor & Head
Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management
Bundelkhand University, Jhansi

Women in Higher Education in India are among the lowest in the Commonwealth Countries. Women reach the top the hard way it is a struggle, a constant juggling of roles, tight work to maintain a balance between home and career. With all the old roles and new roles mixing matching, prioritizing to excel, few have reached to peak. The climate of higher education is still un-friendly toward women, and we need more progressive leadership to transform our Universities into more responsive, nurturing academic communities. In a land where Saraswati is worshiped as an embodiment of learning, the girl child is often deprived from going to the school. Those who do get education have to face a struggle in the work arena. Those women who enter into the Higher Education as a profession face unique problems and challenges. It is true that women, of late, have made their presence felt, with a difference, in the present male dominated Higher Education system, often appearing as winning competitors, not just in the academic front but also in the decision making areas of academic governance. Most male counterparts in the Higher Education scenario would rather pray to the prevedic image of a woman and keep them out of competition. An Attitudinal change is required, where women in Higher Education, as in all other spheres are treated as individuals and at par with men, as partners.

This paper focuses on the challenges faced by women in Higher Education. It elaborates the importance of 4 C’s of an Academic leader, viz.: courage, conflict, community and change. Women in Higher Education need not just have a vision, but also have the ability, courage and initiative to implement that vision. Leaders fuel higher education’s response to change. Some leadership styles fuel positive transformation while others work best for maintenance. In these days of accelerating change, universities thrive best with transformational leaders. Women’s skills fit this need especially well

Women as Academic Leaders in Higher Education

Aparna Raj
Reader & Coordinator, VJB Center for Women’s Studies & Development Bundelkhand University, Jhansi

A woman is an epitome of inner strength, she is capable of creation, nurturing and transformation. Today there is a greater awakening among women. In education, they have not only excelled but also become top achievers. Likewise, in office and industry, many have shown brilliant results. Even in rural India with education, women have shown better performance. Educating women is absolutely essential in straightening her personality. The need of the hour is to provide an opportunity in a conducive atmosphere free from gender differences. The need for awareness motivation and courage to correct the faults of male counterparts are great challenges today. But the truth is that representation of Women in the higher echelons of any industry are still a rare phenomenon, this is itself proved by the fact that any woman who reaches the top of her chosen field is a top story of the newspapers, where as when a man reaches the top position, it is taken for granted. Gender biasness and differences are evident from this small fact itself.

"The voice of the working woman" a document of U.N.O. 1982 makes a significant statistical statement. "Women make up 50% of the world's population, comprise 33.3% of the official labor force, perform nearly 66.6% of all working hours, receive 10% of the world's income but own less than 1% of world properly". This statement alone justifies, serious, positive, need for a down to earth policy on empowerment of women. It is also true that women of late have made their presence felt, with a difference, in the present male dominated society in all the spheres of work, appearing as winning competitors in decision making areas of...
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