Why aren't more women leading colleges and universities?

Tim Goral's picture

Julie Wollman remembers being asked whether a colleague would be a good choice to fill a teaching opening at a school where she once worked.

Among the questions the principal asked: Did the woman plan to have children soon? The subtext: Women with children leave. They stay at home.

That was 30 years ago. But the questions reflected a line of thinking that could have contributed to a sizable -- though shrinking -- gender gap in education leadership that still exists today, said Wollman, the first female president of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

In 2011, just more than one in four -- 26 percent -- of college and university leaders were female, up from 23 percent in 2006, according to a recent study by the American Council on Education that examined the demographics of college leadership.

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