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Vol. 43 (2024): Advancing Women in Leadership Journal

The Effects of Burnout in Female Higher Education Administrators

March 1, 2022


This research explored the phenomenon of femaleness and how it impacts the experiences of women in higher education administration, specifically in colleges of agriculture, and how these experiences contributed to burnout, compassion fatigue, and job satisfaction. Despite representing more than half of the college-educated workforce, women are not represented equally within leadership positions in higher education. In academia, women faculty numbers have improved over the past several decades, representing 52.9% of assistant professor positions (Women in Academia: Quick Take, 2020). Higher education was initially intended only for men (Bystydzienski & Bird, 2006) and therefore valued men in higher-level positions (Bird, 2011; Trower, 2012). This has led to the creation of a culture where women and minorities are underrepresented and face multiple barriers (Bird, 2011). Having an inequitable distribution of power not only in organizations but within society suggests that women will need to traverse a different, more challenging path than their male counterparts to arrive at the same tier of status.


Keywords: burnout, compassion fatigue, higher education, women administrators, women leaders in agriculture, stress, gender roles, coping with stress