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Vol. 40 No. 1 (2021): Advancing Women in Leadership

Men’s Perceptions of the Value of Women Leaders in Higher Education

August 30, 2020


This qualitative research study, framed by social role theory, explored the perceptions of 20 men faculty and academic administrators at doctoral-granting highest research-intensive universities located in the Southwestern region of the U.S. The focus of the study was their perceptions of the value of women leaders, the differences between how men and women are valued in higher education, and the stereotypes and challenges that contribute to how women are valued as leaders. Findings from this study show that men faculty and administrators do not always value women as leaders; differences between academia and industry may exist surrounding how women are valued as leaders; institutional leadership may perpetuate the devaluation of women as leaders; and the value of women in higher education leadership remains a reflection of how women are valued in society. Differences between how men and women are valued were also explored, finding that men faculty and administrators may not see the differences in value based on gender; gender differences exist in regards to standards for evaluation and reward in higher education; and women are perceived to devalue themselves. Challenges that contribute to how women are valued were identified, including the continuation of homosociality that promotes men supporting other men, and the existence of stereotypes and biases that give men an advantage and undermine women in leadership roles.


Keywords: social value, women’s leadership, gender