Barriers to women leaders in academia: tales from science and technology

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    There is growing concern regarding the lack of women in senior positions in science and technology (ST) in United Kingdom (UK) universities. Previous research has enhanced our understanding of the challenges women in academia face to progress their careers. In contrast, relatively little is known as to why so few women reach leadership positions in ST. This article reports on research to examine women’s experiences regarding the perceived barriers to leadership in ST faculties in UK universities. Using in-depth interviews the authors explore personal narratives to highlight the perceived barriers to career advancement. Findings report on the gendered nature of ST faculties and how women struggle to navigate their careers. The investigation illustrates the effect of organisational influences such as temporary work arrangements, male-dominated networks, intimidation and harassment, as well as individual influences such as lack of confidence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415-428
    JournalStudies in Higher Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date30 Jun 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


    • female leadership
    • academic staff
    • gender disparity
    • science and technology (ST)
    • qualitative research


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