Women in Higher Education Management

The Women in Higher Education Management (WHEM) Network is an international feminist research consortium.


To analyse the challenges for women in university management and to develop strategies that can empower them to apply for and succeed in senior management roles. Participating countries are:  Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The WHEM Network welcomes links to other related research groups and researchers.

Each of the researchers in the WHEM Network has an established reputation in gender and higher education. All have published books and/or refereed articles in the field. The Network members have an impressive number of publications resulting from the WHEM projects to date: three books, 17 book chapters, 40 articles, 54 international conference presentations, and dozens of national conference presentations.


The Network’s first research project was published by Palgrave Macmillan in April 2011 as Gender, Power and Management: a Cross Culture Analysis of Higher Education edited by Barbara Bagilhole and Kate White, and has now become a standard reference on gender and higher education.

It is the first multi-country study to examine the dynamics of men and women working together in higher education senior management teams within a broader organizational context. It is based on interviews with women and men in university senior management in the participating countries. It explores pathways into senior management, perceptions of how women and men regard each other’s performance in top management jobs, and their influence on universities. It questions where women fit in university senior management, whether or not women can and do make a distinctive contribution to university decision-making, and the impact of organizational cultures on their effectiveness as managers and leaders. Finally, it explores why interventions need to be developed for women who wish to apply for higher education senior management positions.

The Network’s second project was Generation and Gender in Academia, edited by Barbara Bagilhole and Kate White and released by Palgrave Macmillan. It was published in 2013. Generation and Gender in Academia is the first cross-cultural analysis of the differences in career trajectories and experiences between a senior and younger group of women academics.

This volume uses individual autobiographies of women academics in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom, who are members of  the WHEM Network. Four major themes in their stories are national context; organisational context; family, class and location; and agency. While the younger generation believe they are entitled to careers on the same terms as their male colleagues, major challenges remain. These include countering the argument that the battles have been won for younger academics; lack of support and mentoring at the outset of careers; the continuing difficulty of aspiring to a traditional academic career; capacity for playing the ‘game’ in managerial universities; and recognising mobility as crucial to career success.

The WHEM Network conducted a really successful Workshop on Generation and Gender in Academia at the Gender, Work and Organisation Conference, Keele University, 24-26 June 2014. If you would like to follow up on the discussion at the Workshop, please contact Kate White: kate.white@federation.edu.au

Pat O’Connor’s latest book, Management and Gender in Higher Education, has been published by Manchester University Press.

The Network’s third book Gendered Success in Higher Education: Global Perspectives edited by Kate White and Pat O’Connor has now been published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Much has been written about the barriers to women’s promotion in these contexts; about their masculinist culture and male oriented structures and career paths; and about the underlying gender schemas which legitimate such arrangements and which depict women as ‘the problem’.

Little attention has been paid to an analysis of atypical cases; that is, those organisations which in their gender profile at senior level; in their organisational culture; positional and informal leadership create alternative contexts which are more ‘gender friendly’. This is the focus of the case studies in this book. In their various national and organisational contexts they identify key factors in bringing about the successful implementation of gendered change in higher education organisations at various levels. The final chapter draws together the key factors into an overall change model. It includes a focus on external facilitating factors such as legislative framework, policy or advocate interventions; internal facilitating factors, including leadership (both top down and ‘bottom up’); as well as context specific intervention points. This model will provide important knowledge for HE institutions about how sustainable gendered change can be created in organisations as well as providing insights into the creation of a new gender agenda.

Our latest Book

ISBN: Hard Copy: 978-1-137-56658-4 eCopy: 978-1-137-56659-1 The eCopy version of the book is available for purchase at : https://link.springer.com/ http://www.springer.com/ http://www.palgrave.com/ The hard copy version of the book can be ordered through the marketing sites for example http://www.springer.com/ http://www.palgrave.com/https://www.amazon.com/Gendered-Success-Higher-Education-Perspectives/dp/1137566582/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495107029&sr=1-1&keywords=9781137566584

Current Project

The Women in Higher Education Management Network is currently engaged in an exciting new project entitled Gender and Power in Higher Education: Where to Now? The book will be edited by Pat O’Connor and Kate White and published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2021.

The Team

Dr. Monica Gallant is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the SP Jain School of Global Management, based in Dubai ...
Read More
Professor Connie Zulu is currently Deputy Director in the school of Professional Studies in Education at the North-West University in ...
Read More
Dr Angela Wroblewski is a senior researcher at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna. She is a trained sociologist ...
Read More
Professor Helen Peterson is a Professor of Sociology at Karlstad University (from August 2019), a Senior lecturer in Work Science ...
Read More
Professor Pat O’Connor is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick (UL) and Visiting Professor, ...
Read More
Professor Özlem Atay is a professor of Management at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey. She ...
Read More
Dr Maria de Lourdes Machado-Taylor (Maria de Lourdes Machado) holds a Licenciatura in economics from the University of Porto (Portugal), ...
Read More
Dr Marcela Linková PhD is a researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences where she ...
Read More
Professor Tanuja Agarwala is Professor of HRM & OB in the Faculty of Management Studies at the University of Delhi, ...
Read More
Anke Lipinsky is a senior researcher at GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Team: Center of Excellence Women and Science ...
Read More