While many believe that women’s battle for gender parity in the workplace has already been won, recent data suggest that this is far from reality. According to ACE’s The American College President 2017 report, only 30% of the nation’s college and university presidents are women, just a four percentage point increase since 2011. Although women now earn the majority of all college degrees and are well represented in entry- and mid-level positions in most sectors of the economy, they have made surprisingly little progress in advancing to chief executive positions.
The American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council will lead the effort to raise national awareness of the importance of achieving parity and to suggest practices aimed at achieving the goal of equal representation of women in senior leadership positions in higher education. This collaborative, multi-association initiative seeks to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions in higher education through programs, research, and resources.
A roundtable discussion featuring over 50 representatives from associations and organizations with active women’s leadership agendas was held in the summer of 2014. The following 4 goals were introduced. The convening gathered signatures from individuals committed to working to advance one of the specific goals.
- Generate a national sense of urgency elevating the need for advancing women in higher education leadership positions.
- Encourage governing boards and other higher education institutional decision- & policy-making bodies to consider practices for recruiting and hiring women to chief executive offices.
- Achieve women’s advancement to mid-level and senior-level positions in higher education administration by building capacities in women and in institutions.
- Suggest practices and models that recognize success in advancing women in higher education.