33 SES 11 B, Gender Equality in Higher Education
Different research carried out both in Europe and in the Spanish context reveal the persistence of gender-related inequalities in the university context (Edwards, Desai, Gidycz, & Vanwynsberghe, 2009, Gross, Winslett, Roberts, & Ghom, 2006; Pérez, 2014). Although there is a favorable legal framework in Spain that has allowed the reversion of a female advantage in relation to the male presence in the university, women still face a series of gender-related barriers to success in men-dominated careers, which are categorized as male and competitive careers (Stonyer, 2002, Merma, Ávalos, & Martínez, 2017).
One variable scarcely analyzed in University Education is student leadership and gender (Ely, Ibarra, & Kolb, 2011). From Goleman, Boyatzis and Mckee (2004) has begun to talk about female leadership, characterized by planning and directing the educational institution with an emotional intelligence that combines rationality with the more human side. Lately, the interest of the academic and scientific community has focused on highlighting the persistence of the situation of discrimination against women in the university world that causes vertical segregation -the glass ceiling-, limiting their access to leadership positions of greater responsibility and better remunerated, and horizontal segregation, which limits women's access to those professions associated with typically female tasks such as social services and education (García, 2010; Iglesias, 2016; Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, 2014a 2014b; 2015).
Cáceres, Sachicola and Hinojo (2015) analyze the leadership in the educational field from a gender perspective, the external and internal barriers that hinder the progress of their professional career, the questioning of the existence of a possible feminine leadership due to their scarce representation in the positions of power and their connection with a transformational style. The authors conclude that it has begun to talk about a possible feminine leadership, a way of energizing, planning and directing characterized by emotional intelligence or resilient leadership; This type of leadership focuses on a greater emphasis on interpersonal relationships, on the search for an adequate climate and joint decision-making.
Also El Homrani, Conde and Ávalos (2016) analyze in students leaders of the University of Granada (Spain), among other variables, whether the gender condition can be a conditioning factor to be chosen. The lowest scores are obtained in reference to gender and physical appearance as non-influential characteristics to be elected student leader. However, in the study, the quantitative results do not contrast with the qualitative ones, since the students indicate to agree that there are internal and external factors that influence the gender. The students interviewed point out that the organs of student representation are directed by men and that the second in command is a woman.
Despite these precedents, the few student leadership programs that are promoted in some universities do not recognize the possibility that gender is a sensitive identity to scrutinize, so it is not addressed in training courses (Shollen, 2015). The hypothesis of Rusch (2004) that argued that the discourse on gender and race is often limited or treated as a taboo subject in leadership programs remains in force.
Based on this background, the objective of the study is to determine, from the perception of the student leaders themselves, whether the gender variable influences university leadership, and if this is the case, what are the difficulties or advantages that this generates both in the exercise of leadership at a personal level.
The study uses a convenience sample (Peterson, 2001). An invitation to participate is extended to all the students who hold some position of leadership in the university, specifically members of the Student Council and the 6 Delegations of students of the Faculties, which have a total of 47 leaders. Of them, they agreed to participate voluntarily in the study 41 students. The age of the respondents was 18 to 20 years (57.89%), 21 to 22 years (36.84%) and more than 23 years (5.26%). The Questionnaire for the evaluation of student representation in the university from a gender perspective (Cáceres, Lorenzo, & Sola, 2008) was used, which was adapted according to the purpose of this study. It has six sections: 1) General information of the participant 2) Causes for the election 3) Expectations of students in their leadership positions 4) Leadership practice 5) Assessment on the exercise of leadership 6) Difficulties in the performance of the position. Additionally, open questions were posed to complement the information in the questionnaire. The participants indicated their answers on a four-point Likert scale where 1 means totally disagree, 2 little agree, 3 agree and 4 totally agree. The first direct contact with the President of the Student Council is established to explain the reasons for the investigation. Subsequently, a communication is established with the Delegates of the different Faculties by email, in some cases, and mostly in a personal way and the questionnaire is sent to the students who decide to participate voluntarily. The information collected is analyzed with the qualitative computer software AQUAD 7 (Huber & Gürtler, 2013). An inductive review (Maykut and Morehouse, 1994) of the content of the narratives is carried out to establish the first connections between the research questions and the emerging themes of this study; the inferential codes are created, categorized and validated following a process of triangulation with three expert investigators. Finally, a definitive code map is designed from which two fundamental themes of this study emerge: • Causes of the election of students in positions of leadership and gender. • Difficulties and problems that leaders have in the exercise of their positions. The quantitative data is processed using the statistical package SPSS.v.21.0. For the general analysis of the variables of the study, the basic descriptive statistics have been used, especially the percentage of individual cases and compared according to sex.
The findings of the study show that women are assuming leadership positions, but not in an equal way than men, neither quantitatively nor qualitatively, since percentage of men in these positions percentage is almost double that of women (63,15 % and 36.84%, respectively), being the posts of greatest responsibility performed by men. With respect to the causes of the elections, they differ according to gender. While traits in the line of transformational leadership prevail in women (Schuh et al., 2014), in men the qualities of transactional style prevail (Bass, & Avolio, 1994; Eagly, 1987 ; Eagly, & Johannesen -Schimdt, 2001). In the results also highlights that the greatest difficulty, both men and women, are related to their own insecurities (31.57%, 21.05%, respectively). Second, both indicate that the position they hold takes time (21.04%, 15.78%, respectively) and thirdly they claim that they have internal individual obstacles that limit their performance in these positions, such as personality , the fear of failure and not being sufficiently trained (15.58%, 10.72%, respectively); In short, men perceive that they have more personal difficulties related to the time they are required to fill the positions they occupy. Based on these results, it is concluded that the imbalances between men and women persist and that the stereotypes that associate leadership with masculinity have not yet been completely dissolved (Joy, 2008). Women are still underrepresented in the student leadership functions and are even chosen because there is an absence of candidates as indicated by 47.36% of the women participating in the study. Higher Education is the ideal context to advance in equity (Merma, Ávalos, & Martínez, 2015). In this perspective, the University of Alicante approved the Second Plan of Equality of Equal Opportunities between Women and Men; in axis 3 of this plan, an action linked to leadership is included.
Cáceres, P., Lorenzo, M., & Sola, T. (2009). El liderazgo estudiantil en la Universidad de Granada desde una dimensión introspectiva. Bordón, 61, 109-131. Cáceres, P., Sachicola, A., & Hinojo, M. (2015). Análisis del liderazgo femenino y poder académico en el contexto universitario español. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 11(2), 296-313. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale: Erlbaum. Eagly, A., & Johannesen-Schimdt, M. (2001). The leadership styles of women and men. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 781-797. El Homrani, M., Conde, A., & Ávalos, I. (2016). Liderazgo estudiantil y ramas de conocimiento: Un estudio aproximativo en la Universidad de Granada. International Journal of Educational Leadership and Management, 4(2), 177-197. Ely, R. J., Ibarra, H., & Kolb, D. M. (2011). Taking gender into account: Theory and design for women’s leadership development programs. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 474-493. Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & Mckee, A. (2004). El líder resonante crea más: el poder de la inteligencia emocional. Barcelona: Plaza y Janés. Gross, A. M., Winslett, A., Roberts, M., & Ghom, C. L. (2006). An examination of sexual violence against college women. Violence Against Women, 12(3), 288- 300. Huber, G. L., & Gürtler, L. (2013). Aquad 7. Manual del programa para analizar datos cualitativos. Tübingen: Softwarevertrieb Günter Huber. Iglesias, A. (2016). Educación universitaria y ciudadanía global ¿Puede la igualdad de género ser optativa? Revista Educação em Questão, 54(40), 12-41. Joy, L. (2008). Advancing women leaders: The connection between women board directors and women corporate officers. New York: Catalyst. Merma, G., Ávalos, M. A., & Martínez, M. A. (2015). La relevancia encubierta del género: las percepciones de los futuros maestros sobre la igualdad y las desigualdades contextuales. La Manzana de la Discordia, 10(2), 93-104. Merma, G., Ávalos, M. A., Martínez, M. A. (2017). La igualdad de género en la docencia universitaria. Percepciones del alumnado. Revista la Manzana de la Discordia, 12(1), 103-115. Peterson, R. A. (2001). On the use of college students in social science research: insights a second-order meta-analysis. Journal of Consumer Research, 28, 450-461. Rusch, E. A. (2004). Gender and race in leadership preparation: A constrained discourse. Educational Administration Quarterly, 40(1), 14-46. Schuh, S., Hernández, A., Van Quaquebeke, N., Hossiep, R., Frieg, P., & Van Dick, R. (2014). Gender differences in leadership role occupancy: The mediating role of power motivation. Journal of Business Ethics, 120(3), 363-379. Shollen, S. L. (2015). Teaching and learning about women and leadership: Students’ expectations and experiences. Journal of Leadership Education, 14(3), 35-52.
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