Monday, August 2

A UA study on female academic leadership proposes increasing awareness of gender equality

UA academics are satisfied with the improvements they have made in the bodies they manage.

UA academics are satisfied with the improvements they have made in the bodies they manage.

The lack of female references history for women who reach academic positions begins with the arrival of Amparo Navarro as rector of the University of Alicante. “The glass ceiling is beginning to crack”, states Maria Encarnacion Urrea Solano, who just defended a few days ago her doctoral thesis on academic leadership and women, “The leadership of academics in Higher Education: a case study.”

The objective of the study has been to know and understand the vision that women who hold management positions have about their experiences and experiences in university governance. To do this, Urrea has delved into the aspects of teaching, research and management of women at the UA.


The researcher has carried out semi-structured interviews with women who had performed functions in this field. “They were very supportive of me,” emphasizes Dr. Urrea. The topics of the interview revolved around their motivations access, difficulties found in the performance of the position, the satisfactions and opportunities derived from the exercise of leadership, its learning, the Balance between personal, family and professional life, as well as the proposals they make to optimize female leadership in academia. The doctor adopted a qualitative and narrative methodology, with which the analysis of the voices of the participants was carried out.


From the results of the study, it can be deduced that women enter the managerial function moved, above all, by their commitment to the university community. “They feel grateful to the institution that has allowed them to grow on a personal and professional level, so with their work in this area, they aspire to contribute to its development,” says Urrea.

The performance of the managerial function becomes for women a extraordinary enrichment opportunity, since they can acquire valuable knowledge and skills not only in the field of management, but also at the socio-emotional level. The learning models they use are, above all, of a social nature and situated, since it is through dialogue and the observation of their colleagues that they learn to develop and carry out their function.

Academics feel deeply satisfied with the improvements that they have been able to achieve in the bodies and units they manage, and they recognize that this would not have been possible without the effort, commitment and involvement of the team of people with whom they have worked.

The exercise of the managerial function also becomes a privileged setting from which to better understand the multiple realities existing on campus and even in other university institutions, which usually results in the construction of professional collaboration networks. In return, they acknowledge providing qualities linked above all to improving the work environment and relationships in the bodies they lead. In fact, from his speeches it is possible to affirm that His leadership style is mainly characterized by dialogue, collaboration and consensual decision-making.

Regarding the proposals they make for the improvement of female leadership in academia, the participants focus above all on the training and in the empowerment of the woman. Based on this, and as implications derived from the study, it is suggested to increase awareness and awareness of gender equality, as well as to activate support and mentoring networks for female academic leadership.

María Encarnación Urrea highlights the relevance of this study that was defended as a doctoral thesis coincidentally just now that a woman has just arrived at the position of rector at the UA for the first time. “The glass ceiling is beginning to crack.”

The study is framed in el Interdisciplinary research group in University Teaching – Education and Information and Communication Technologies / Inclusive Education (GIDU-EDUTIC / IN) belonging to Department of General Didactics and Specific Didactics of the Education Faculty from University of Alicante, within the Educational Research PhD Program. The new doctor has had two thesis supervisors: doctors María Ángeles Martínez Ruiz and Gladys Merma Molina.

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