Women constructing leadership identities in academia: Intersection of gender and culture
Aisha Bhatti and Rabia Ali
International Islamic University, Pakistan
This paper is drawn from a PhD dissertation on women's experiences of academic leadership in higher education in Pakistan. It aims to document women's voices from higher education about the discursive construction of their leadership identities within the dominant masculine academic culture. The data presented here is derived from ten in-depth interviews carried out with women leaders from co-educational universities located in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, Pakistan during the year 2019. The empirical data reveals that women are expected to exercise masculine attributes for representing themselves as successful leaders. However, they feel comfortable acting in their feminine roles by being flexible and accommodating. Women do not consider their gender as an obstacle in constructing leadership identities, yet the masculine academic culture does not accept them in their feminine style. Resultantly, women encounter numerous challenges in constructing their leadership identities. This paper argues that leadership identities of women are discursively produced and reproduced in universities to legitimise masculine discourses. In light of the findings, it is suggested that universities need to develop gender-sensitive policies to encourage and celebrate women's leadership in academia.
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|Authors: Aisha Bhatti PhD works as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rawalpindi Women University, Pakistan. Her research interests are sociology of gender, education, leadership, phenomenology, and discourse analysis.|
Rabia Ali PhD (corresponding author) works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the International Islamic University Islamabad. She specialises in the sociology of gender and some of her research interests include women's empowerment, reproductive health of women, and women in leadership.
Please cite as: Bhatti, A. & Ali, R. (2021). Women constructing leadership identities in academia: Intersection of gender and culture. Issues in Educational Research, 31(1), 1-18. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/bhatti.pdf