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Petty Principles: Practical Branding Strategies for Women in Higher Education

Many women aspire to leadership positions in higher education. Yet research reveals that women continue to be underrepresented among deans, chief academic officers, provosts, and presidents (Gallant, 2014). Additionally, researchers have identified numerous motives for the persistence of this underrepresentation. For women to progress toward leadership positions in higher education can be a complicated, intricate, and multifaceted process (Johnson et al., 2010). Unfortunately, many are not afforded the opportunity to lead due to lack of knowledge, skills, or political maneuvering. According to Thomas, Bierema, and Landau (2004), women have not made advances in the academy, and they have not climbed career ladders with the same speed or ease as their male counterparts. The White House Project (2009) implied that having women leaders in higher education is much more than a mere gender parity issue: women leaders will potentially have a significant influence on institutions’ knowledge and scope of research. The presence of women in higher education leadership roles will contribute to positive and unique experiences for students that they will not have under gender-homogenous leadership.

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