Women managers in higher education

Promotion of gender equity and empowerment of women is one of the most important goals to achieve. The poor representation of woman in higher and decision making positions is due to various reasons. The most important among which are discrimination, stereotype, career break for family rearing, low  career ambitions, fewer role model to emulate and no or very few network for support and counseling. 

Similar reasons are responsible for slower professional growth of women. There are wide gender disparities in terms of access to education. Women and girls globally constitute the single largest category of persons denied full and equal opportunities for education. 

Literacy rate of women is significantly lower than that of men. This leads to lower Gross Enrolment Ratio of females as compared to men. More often women have to make a difficult choice between professional career and private life. A large number of professionally trained women are forced either to leave their jobs or to suppress their ambitions for motherhood and family responsibilities. 

Very few women make it to the top and are often co-opted into following the existing rules of the game. To change the status quo, certain policy interventions have been initiated by UGC. Training modules  such as ’capacity building programme of women managers in higher education’ are very effective in sensitizing  women towards the gender disparity at top managerial level of higher education. 

Programmes like these help in capacity building of women in higher education to become managers in order to participate in policy and decision making, ensuring gender sensitivity in governance and administration of the university. 

Women and governance, women and academic leadership, managing personal and professional roles and momen and research are some of topics which needs to be covered. 

Programs should be hold to develop keenness in women to aspire for managerial positions and also women should take up such position which will help in removing gender barrier. 

Since it was necessary to develop many trainers for a wider reach of the higher education system, the concept of the Training of Trainers Workshops (ToTs) was conceived and implemented. The focus in the ToTs workshops is on training skills and the method of transaction of the manuals focused on sensitisation, awareness building and motivation. Thus, as more women join in the task of sensitizing others, a movement among women academicians in the higher education system has been initiated.

After being motivated by such programmes those who have decided they would wish to become managers, or they are already managers in the higher education system, will be offered specific modules on management skills within the gender context. One of the important objectives of this program is to encourage and support development of linkages among women managers in higher education at regional, national and international level through networking. The motivation of establishing a network is to strengthen the role of women managers.

The experienced member of the network may be able to offer practical solutions based on their experiences regarding balancing career and motherhood, overcoming discrimination, breaking through the glass ceiling to get a senior position. It is heartening to observe that this movement has caught up in Jammu and Kashmir also.  Several workshops have been conducted in university, women’s college and the most recent one has been organized by Government College of education. Many female academicians from the valley are recognized as trainers. 

One of the positive impacts of this movement is that many men have become gender responsive and for the first time a lady has been appointed as dean in Kashmir University. Prestigious Institutes of higher learning like Kashmir Government Polytechnic and Government Medical College is now headed by women. It is hoped that other Institutes of higher learning may follow the suit in near future.