I am grateful to Times Higher Education for running the brilliant article on gender imbalance (“Room at the top”, Features, 14 May), and to Amanda Goodall and Margit Osterloh for writing a balanced piece that addresses both the causes of and solutions to the lack of female leadership within academia.
In my opinion, matters of gender inequality should be considered within a more holistic perspective of what is defined as an “inclusive university” in the 21st century, and that can only be one that is accessible, welcoming and representative of all sectors of the population, regardless of sexual orientation and income. As universities strive towards widening their access and accommodating students from a disadvantaged background, it is somewhat ironic that these same students find themselves in institutions where women and minorities are not adequately represented at leadership level. There is no justification for such an incongruence to persist.
When it comes to gender inequality in the top positions at universities, perhaps the manner in which advertisements for positions are worded and assumptions are made could be reconsidered. While there seems to be an understanding that a doctorate or a teaching qualification is easy to slide in with other work, other abilities that have to be on the CV such as direct experience of large fundraising and international management have to be proven before interviews are considered.
How about a little imagination and understanding that different experiences can be potentially far richer? Unfortunately, people tend to choose people like themselves and expect job specifications to do the same.