Half of all higher-ed chief executives should be women, supporters say

female-leadershipA new initiative aims to ensure that, by 2030, half of U.S. college and university chief executives are women.

Moving the Needle: Advancing Women Leaders in Higher Education was launched by the American Council on Education (ACE) and asks presidents of colleges, universities and related associations to strive toward meeting that goal.

Women now earn the majority of all college degrees, but they have made little progress when it comes to gaining the top job at colleges and universities. As of 2011, 26 percent of college and university presidencies were held by women–up just three percentage points since 2006.

Due to the increasingly fast turnover rate among the current generation of higher education senior leaders, the initiative comes at a pivotal time to make more progress in diversifying senior leadership across the board, supporters say.

Next page: How to join the campaign

“As presidents, we must offer our sponsorship and mentorship and recognize that every presidential vacancy is an opportunity to advance women,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “The presidents that have already signed on have sent a powerful signal about the importance of this issue and this commitment.”

The Moving the Needle campaign is overseen by the Inclusive Excellence Group of ACE’s Leadership Division, which offers a comprehensive suite of programs that support and advance higher education leaders. Moving the Needle is designed to raise national awareness about the importance of achieving gender parity and diversity in higher education leadership and provide strategies to meet the goal of equal representation of women in senior positions.

“For decades, ACE has demonstrated a commitment to advancing women along the higher education pipeline,” said Kim Bobby, director of the Inclusive Excellence Group. “The Moving the Needle call to action is a bold new initiative to increase awareness and join together in a collective effort to increase and sustain gender parity in higher education leadership.”

ACE announced that 109 presidents and chancellors already have joined the campaign as inaugural signers.

Presidents interested in joining the campaign can click here to sign the statement of support.

For more information, click here.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Laura Ascione

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