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Women and Leadership program focus group – Level C. Professor Hilary Winchester Pro Vice Chancellor: Organisational Strategy and Change February 2005. CRICOS Provider Number 00121B. Women and Leadership program.

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Women and Leadership program focus group – Level C

Professor Hilary Winchester

Pro Vice Chancellor:

Organisational Strategy and Change

February 2005

CRICOS Provider Number 00121B

women and leadership program
Women and Leadership program

UniSA is committed to achieving equal employment opportunity for women within the organisation.

Our equity and affirmative strategies aim to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

corporate strategic directions and unisa context
Corporate strategic directions and UniSA context

The fact that the University has:

  • 45% female academic staff
  • 64% female general staff across all levels
  • Three corporate KPIs that relate to gender equity and
  • Gender parity in the Senior Management Group

is testament to our commitment to gender equity.

senior women
Senior women
  • The proportion of women decreases at senior levels.
  • UniSA has 155 staff at Level D and above (including the Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellors), of whom 42 are female (27%) and 113 are male (73%).
  • The 2006 target of 30% is achievable (representing approximately four more female staff) and is particularly critical for traditionally male-dominated disciplinary areas.
  • The 30% female representation is demonstrated to be the critical mass which influences decision-making in teams and working groups.
  • Benchmarking data clearly shows that UniSA’s percentage of female academic staff is:
    • above the other universities in the State
    • 6% above the national average
    • at Level D and above (currently 27%) sits almost 10% above the national average.
  • The University:
    • uses KPIs and targets to self-regulate
    • has leadership from the top
    • is commended by AUQA for our high level of staff development.
barriers to promotion for academic women staff
Barriers to Promotion for Academic Women Staff
  • A research team is investigating barriers to promotion for academic women staff. Funded by the AVCC and the Colloquium of Senior Women, the team comprises myself, Shard Lorenzo and Lyn Browning from the HR Unit, and Dr Colleen Chesterman, Director of ATN WEXDEV.
  • The research team has collected information on academic promotion policies and promotion statistics by gender from all Australian Universities and has interviewed staff from 17 universities to further investigate strategies and identify best practice.
recent atn research
Recent ATN research
  • Recent research conducted collaboratively by members of the ATN focussed on the gender differences in career paths, especially in relation to:
    • Academic career paths
    • Reticence
    • Resistance.
academic career paths
Academic career paths
  • Women have less mobility and stay in the same institution
  • In applying for positions, male academics were twice as likely to apply from outside the institutions and from overseas or interstate positions
  • Women may start academic careers later, sometimes after child-rearing, and tend to have less research experience
  • Fewer women take the post-doctoral path.

Many women:

  • Undervalue their capacities
  • Tend not to ‘self-promote’
  • Are unwilling to seek promotion.

“The big problem is actually getting the women to the point of application… Women think they have to be perfect before they actually apply for jobs.”

(Female DVC)

combating reticence
Combating reticence
  • Succession planning
  • Workshops on promotion / leadership / career development
  • Identification and talent spotting
  • Policy on short-term vacancies in senior positions
  • Nurturing and mentoring
  • Acknowledgement and discussion of glass ceiling issues and gendered norms
  • Opportunities for acting in senior positions or undertaking higher duties.

“I look at the role and responsibilities the PVC or the Deputy Vice Chancellor has and I think no, I don’t want that. I feel I’m kind of at the edge of what I’m able to manage and remain sane.”

(Female Director)

To address this, individual women can:

  • Take opportunities
  • Confront reticence
  • Develop skills for leadership.
future challenges
Future challenges
  • Maintaining a focus on equity
  • Finding a work / family balance
  • Concentration of women in female-dominated areas
  • High visibility of women in management
  • Belief that universities are gender neutral


  • How can UniSA assist your future development?