Gender equity in Indian higher education: vision of institutional leadership

Nandita Dhawan*, Dina Zoe Belluigi*, Grace Idahosa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Research Background:
When it comes to social justice, leadership plays a significant role in fostering vision, ensuring compliance with policies and their implementation, in addition to embodying a responsibility for institutional growth. This is important in the current global drive to address gender inequality, one of the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations. Public institutions of authority, particularly higher education institutions (HEIs), play a significant role for the public good in this regard. However, the staff composition of Indian public HEIs presents a dismal picture with women occupying only 7% of positions of leadership.

The paper aims to study the role of institutional leaders in implementing, monitoring and evaluating gender policies. It further wants to understand the individual and systemic constraints faced by leaders in their efforts to attain the vision of gender equity in their institutions.

We present findings from a collaborative research project studying the dominant cultures within universities in the post-colonial contexts of India and South Africa. It draws from data generated through mixed methods in 2019, with participation of 185 academic staff and leaders.

While the leadership ensured the existence of gender policies in their universities, mechanisms of implementation, monitoring and evaluation were weak and left much to be desired. The rhetoric of gender mainstreaming covered up for the lack of awareness of the intentionality of policies for gender equity. The policies were considered more of a constitutional obligation rather than being looked upon with a politico-ethical vision to include those marginalized with regard to gender and its intersections with caste, sexuality, ability and language. The resources of ‘ghettoised’ areas of specialization were not utilized to the optimum therefore rendering the institutional functioning to remain exclusionary, elitist, sexist and casteist.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 02 Dec 2020
EventInternational Conference on Gender, Language and Education: Equality and Diversity Issues in Asia and Beyond - The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 02 Dec 202004 Dec 2020


ConferenceInternational Conference on Gender, Language and Education
Abbreviated titleICGLE
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


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