What progress? Women still far behind men in elite university power positions

University Business
By Chris Burt
January 24, 2022

New report shows the incredible disparities not just in president positions but also among deans and provosts.

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to see just how wide the gaps are between women and men in power positions in higher education. They are, and have been, easily recognizable.

Just 22% of Research I institutions have women leading as presidents, and only 26% of their boards have women in chair positions. The division among academic deans and provosts is an alarming 20% or more. Those data come from a national report from the Women’s Power Gap Initiative at the Eos Foundation and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that highlighted the pervasive differences at 131 of the top universities.

“It’s alarming to see that women are still so vastly underrepresented at the top levels of academic leadership,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW CEO. “Historically, universities have been catalysts for social and economic progress in America and AAUW has supported pathways for women in academia for over a century. It’s extremely disappointing that most institutions are still failing to give women—especially women of color—equal opportunities to rise in their careers. We need immediate action to eliminate the barriers against women and people of color whose perspectives, brilliance, and leadership we need to move us all forward.”

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