Gender Inequality in Higher Education

Statement of the Problem

The changes in higher education based on the existing gender inequalities and rights are frequently discussed by researchers worldwide. Many transformations have already been used to improve the systems of education in different countries (Hadjar & Gross, 2016). However, there are also the activities the consideration of which provokes new debates and requires additional investigations and explanations. At the beginning of the 1900s, certain legal steps were taken to support the rights of women in their intentions to vote (the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution of 1920), earn (the Equal Pay Act of 1963), and work (the Civil Rights Act of 1964) (Beaumont, 2016; Evans, 2016). However, today, many societies still experience gender inequalities in higher education that determine cooperation with students, educational leadership, and academic management. Students have to focus on their academic achievements and knowledge that they can use in their future professions. Administrators have to think about the conditions that are appropriate for students and tutors at the same time.

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Tutors and professors have to concentrate on their work and investigate their skills. Gender inequality should not be a challenge for their personal and professional development (Dunn, Gerlach, & Hyle, 2014). Therefore, this project explores the experiences of female educational leaders and administrators within the context of private for-profit and nonprofit institutions to argue the role of gender in the establishment of effective leadership in higher education.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of gender in higher education and clarify its impact on educational leadership. First, it is necessary to promote a historical evaluation of causes and outcomes of gender inequality in private for-profit and nonprofit educational administrations. This step helps to identify and comprehend the main characteristics of gender inequality in education. The second objective is based on the necessity to evaluate the perceptions of the work of administrators by students and teachers and explain if gender influences the quality of leadership. Finally, it is expected to develop an intervention or guidelines for higher educational institutions in their intention to reduce the role of gender inequality in administration. Outcomes and solutions should be identified to deal with the existing gender gap.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

Feminist standpoint theory will guide this study. It was characterized as the second serious wave of feminism in the United States that was founded in the 1980s (Mosedale, 2014). The peculiar feature of this theory is that it does not have one particular author or founder. It was developed through the years and contributed to by several strong feminist theorists, including Dorothy Smith, Patricia Hill Collins, and Sandra Harding. The list of people involved in the development of this theory is not full, and it is necessary to admit that some contributors did not even know each other. Therefore, this theory was introduced as a feminist epistemology. It was used to explain the causes of oppression of people according to their gender. Social objectivity was proved as a serious implication for knowledge production where the empowerment of women was an issue for consideration (Mosedale, 2014). In other words, according to the supporters of feminist standpoint theory, society is the root of knowledge.

Another strong aspect of the chosen theory is its attempt to understand the nature of oppression experienced by women. Social reality is complex, and it is important to recognize a feminist standpoint regarding the experiences of women in different fields (Hekman, 2013). To be heard and recognized, women have to develop their standpoints and protect their positions. It is a political achievement that has a social nature. Some women are ready to take steps and protect their opinions, and some women need motivation and promotion.

Regarding the nature of the chosen theory and the participation of several theorists in its development, several concepts can be identified in a future study. For example, Dorothy Smith is one of the developers of the feminist standpoint theory. Her field of interest in sociology. As a result, she added the idea of the relationships between people of both genders to her feminist theory. Sandra Harding supports the importance of sustainability that may be observed in cultures, human needs, and scientific discrimination. Finally, the work of Collins helps to identify the role of stereotypes in the discussions of gender inequality.

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In general, this study can be developed in terms of the chosen theoretical framework in the form of feminist standpoint theory and the conceptual framework with such terms contributing to research as “gender inequality”, “feminism”, “stereotype”, “social relationships”, and “sustainability”. Higher education and leadership presuppose the participation of both genders in administrative affairs of private institutions, and these frameworks help to create a good plan for the analysis of gender relationships and inequalities. Feminist theories help to identify such concepts as marginalization, domination, and stereotyping and give a kind of voice to women with diverse perspectives based on their standpoints and understandings of what they have to do and what they want to do.

References

Beaumont, E. (2016). Gender justice v. the ‘invisible hand’ of gender bias in law and society. Hypatia, 31(3), 668-686.

Dunn, D., Gerlach, J.M., & Hype, A.E. (2014). Gender and leadership: Reflections of women in higher education administration. International Journal of Leadership and Change, 2(1), 9-18. Web.

Evans, M. (2016). The persistence of gender inequality. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Hadjar, A., & Gross, C. (Eds.). (2016). Education systems and inequalities: International comparisons. Chicago, IL: Policy Press.

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Hekman, S.J. (2013). The future of differences: Truth and method in feminist theory. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.

Mosedale, S. (2014). Women’s empowerment as a development goal: Taking a feminist standpoint. Journal of International Development, 26(8), 1115-1125.

Gender Inequality in Higher Education
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