Celebrating Women's History Month


​As more women enter the higher education leadership pipeline, we must support their successes and continue to encourage gender parity in leadership roles. Women—particularly women of colorare being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are saluting women leaders in higher education, honoring the progress that has been made, and highlighting ACE’s work that guides and supports women leaders and those who are positioned to promote women’s advancement.

Amplifying Women's Voices

Let's Talk About Race Interview Series

Part of ACE's Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education project, this interview series captures the voices of scholars and leaders as they share their perspectives and experiences on race and ethnicity in higher education.

An Interview with Thuy Thi Nguyen: Thuy Thi Nguyen serves as the seventh president of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. Nguyen is the first Vietnamese American college president in the country.

An Interview with Beverly Daniel Tatum: Beverly Daniel Tatum is president emerita of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Tatum is a nationally recognized scholar and authority on issues of race in America.

An Interview with Sylvia Hurtado: Sylvia Hurtado is professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change.

dotEDU Episodes

Learn from the many women leaders featured in ACE's podcast, dotEDU, including these selected episodes: 

dotEDU Episode 14: Community Colleges Bring Dreams Within Reach
dotEDU Episode 14: Community Colleges Bring Dreams Within Reach
Former President of Montgomery County Community College Karen Stout, now president and CEO of Achieving the Dream​, talks with hosts Jon Fansmith and Jonathan Turk about the challenges faced by the new generation of community colleges.
dotEDU Episode 19: A College at the Crossroads of COVID-19 and DACA
dotEDU Episode 19: A College at the Crossroads of COVID-19 and DACA
Carrie Hauser, president of Colorado Mountain College, talks with co-hosts Jon Fansmith and Lorelle Espinosa about how her institution has responded to the pandemic and how its unique, interest-free income share agreement for DACA students has adapted.
Women and the Presidency

American College President Study

According to American College President Study 2017, the percentage of women college presidents has slowly increased over the last 30 years. However, women remain underrepresented and typically follow different paths to the presidency than men. Explore the study's data and analysis at the microsite.

The 5 Percent: Investing in Women of Color

The face of the college presidency has changed in recent years, moving slowly away from the monolithic profile of the past (White men over the age of 60) to something more representative of the face of students. American College President Study 2017 reported that the number of women had grown to 30 percent in 2016, but women of color accounted for only 5 percent of U.S. campus leaders. This inequity demands we take an intersectional approach to understanding the pathways, supports, and barriers to the presidency for women of color.

Other ACE Publications

Leading the Way to Parity: Preparation, Persistence, and the Role of Women Presidents
Leading the Way to Parity: Preparation, Persistence, and the Role of Women Presidents
This brief offers recommendations to increase representation of women among college presidents, and argues that meaningful parity will only be achieved when women not only reach the presidency, but are set up to succeed and endure in the position.
Voices from the Field: Women of Color Presidents in Higher Education
Voices from the Field: Women of Color Presidents in Higher Education
This brief shares four interviews with women of color who are serving as presidents or chancellors of colleges and universities.
Ready to Lead: Women in the Presidency
Ready to Lead: Women in the Presidency
This infographic draws upon data from the American College President Study to highlight women presidents and the leadership experience they bring to the college presidency.
Higher Ed Spotlight - Pipelines, Pathways, and Institutional Leadership: An Update on the Status of Women in Higher Education
Higher Ed Spotlight - Pipelines, Pathways, and Institutional Leadership: An Update on the Status of Women in Higher Education
This graphic infobrief offers an update of key descriptive statistics on women in higher education in an effort to promote dialogue on how to move the needle and increase the number of women leaders.
Learning from History

Higher Ed Today, ACE's blog, has long chronicled women's leadership in higher education and U.S. history. Learn more in these featured posts:

"ACE at 100: Advocating for Women in Higher Education"

Throughout its history, ACE has worked to support the inclusion of women in all aspects of higher education. From advocating for women’s right to work in the 1920s to creating a pipeline to higher education leadership positions in recent years, ACE has spearheaded a number of initiatives focused on women and their success.

"Women’s March on Washington: Where Do We Go From Here?"

Karen Haynes, president of California State University, San Marcos, discusses the implications of the Women’s March and higher education.

ACE2021 Speakers

Celebrated Plenary Speakers

Kimberlé Crenshaw, executive director of the African American Policy Forum and developer of “intersectionality,” “critical race theory,” and the #SayHerName campaign, and Diana S. Natalicio, president emerita of The University of Texas at El Paso. Register by March 21 to attend.

ACE Women's Network Leadership Conference

In addition to those speaking at ACE2021, Johnnetta B. Cole, president emerita of Spelman College and Bennett College, will be the keynote speaker of the ACE Toast to Women in Higher Education, part of the ACE Women's Network Leadership Conference on March 19. Register now.

Enhancing Women's Leadership

The ACE Women's Network

The ACE Women's Network is a national system of state networks that has been advancing and supporting women in higher education since 1977.

The Women's Network Toolkit: The new toolkit contains information on the Network's rich history, mission, and structure. Explore the toolkit to learn more about getting involved.

Leading the Way: Advancing Women in Higher Education at the State Level: This series on ACE's blog, Higher Education Today, highlights the efforts, successes, and lessons from state networks across the country as they work to advance the role of women in higher education.

Moving the Needle

Since the Moving the Needle initiative began in January 2016, almost 900 presidents, provosts, and senior leaders have signed on to the Moving the Needle: Advancing Women in Higher Education Leadership, a call-to-action campaign. With their help, ACE has raised awareness of the status of women leaders and effected real change, getting ever-closer to our 2030 goal: securing women in 50 percent of the chief executive positions at American higher education institutions.

Women's Leadership Legacy Fund

A contribution to ACE's Women's Leadership Legacy Fund will build on nearly a century of progress in expanding women’s leadership in higher education by strengthening the success of future generations. Through generous grants and scholarships, the Women’s Leadership Legacy Fund ensures that cost is not a barrier to professional advancement and prepares emerging leaders for the next challenge.

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