22 SES 14 C, Diversity in Academics (Students and Staff)
International literature highlights that female academics not only experience barriers and discrimination in accessing senior leadership positions, but also face complex challenges when in such positions. According to literature, female academics are well represented in the HE and in the middle levels of leadership, but then there is an evident lack of any significant number of female academics represented in the highest levels of leadership. Women are holding leadership positions at increasing rates, except in upper management positions (Jackson, 2001; Segal, 2005). The Gulf state of Oman is also a similar case. Despite enormous improvement of the place of women in the field of higher education (HE) in Oman, it is unclear how much they will be able to leverage their educational success to obtain the senior faculty positions to progress in their careers and meet the challenges posed by socio-cultural and religious practices and discourses in particular. This presentation will discuss how history, the cultural setting, and the political–ideological contexts may influence our understanding of gender and leadership from female Omani academic leaders’ perspectives and across a variety of institutional contexts in Oman. The presentation seeks to examine the multiple factors that shape women’s leadership practices in leading academic administrative posts. It aims to highlight the shifting face of female leadership in Oman in an attempt to identify the limitations and challenges of exiting models of leadership in conservative, male dominated work environments. The key objective of this presentation is to measure the female academic empowerment in Oman by identifying their ability in the labour force.
There are still obvious gender divisions in a country that is heavily encouraging women’s involvement in all aspects of professional life. This study seeks to understand the factors acting as barriers for females to access leadership roles in higher education. I argue that statistical numbers alone do not present the whole picture, and therefore, a qualitative study is being proposed for better understanding of this phenomenon.
- The Study Objectives
The present study is hoped to be of significant value and use in the field of female leadership in higher education in particular and for other female professionals seeking leadership posts in general by:
- filling a gap in the literature, with the potential for an immediate impact on women aspiring for any senior position in the Arabian Gulf societies.
- examining the relevance and applicability of earlier findings pertaining to women’s career challenges as outlined in various national and international studies to a broader context.
- identifying new theories regarding women and gender. These studies are not only for changing a mind-set, but also a tool for women’s development.
- focusing on factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in senior positions within the HE institutes in a developing country.
- investigating the policies that have been adopted to promote gender equality in higher education institutes in an Arab country.
- The Study Questions
The main questions addressed in this study reflect the objectives it proposes. They have been developed through engagement with relevant literature and will guide the direction of the research methodology in later stages.
- What factors do female Omani academic identify as significant for their access to senior leadership positions?
- What obstacles and challenges have female Omani academics faced in their career progression?
- How do personal, cultural, and structural factors affect women as well as policies?
- What institutional mandates and policies of the Omani government have helped females participate more in academic leading post in higher education?
References : Airini, Collings, S., Conner, L., McPherson, K., Midson, B., & Wilson, C. (2011). Learning to be leaders’ in higher education: What helps or hinders women’s advancement as leaders in universities. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 39(1), 44–62. Al-Shanfari, A., S. (2011). Participation of Women in Higher Education and Labor Market: A Case Study in Muscat, Oman. Ministry of Social Development Publication, Sultanate of Oman. Al-Lamky, A. (2007). Feminizing leadership in Arab societies: the perspectives of Omani female leaders. Women in Management Review, 22 (1), 49-67. Bornstein, R. (2008). Chapter 7: Women and the college presidency. In J. Glazer-Raymo (Ed.), Unfinished agendas: New and continuing gender challenges in higher education (pp. 162–184). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Catalyst Group. (1998). Catalyst census of female board of directors of Fortune 500. New York. Catalyst Group. Dimmock, C. (2000) Designing the Learning-Centred School: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (London: Falmer Press). Jackson, J. C. (2001). Women middle managers' perception of the glass ceiling. Women in Management Review, 16(1), 30-45. Kelly, M. L. (2011). Next in line: Women chief academic officers, their experiences and career aspirations. ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing McNeill, D. (2007). Few women reach the top in Japan’s universities. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54, 47. Richmon, M. J. and Allison, D. J. (2003) Towards a conceptual framework for leadership inquiry. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 31(1), 31–50. Doherty, L., & Manfredi, S. (2006). Women’s progression to senior positions in English universities. Employee Relations, 28(6), 553 572. Prasad, A. & Prasad, P. (2002). “The coming of age of Interpretive Organizational Research”, Organizational Research Methods, vol. 5, no., pp. 4-11. Shah, S. (2004) ‘Researcher in Cross-cultural context: a social intruder’. British Educational Research Journal; Vol. 30(4) 549-575. Segal, J. A. (2005). Shatter the glass ceiling, dodge the shards. HRMagazine, 50(4), 121- 127.
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