"Not doable jobs!" Exploring senior women's attitudes to academic leadership roles

Colleen Chesterman*, Anne Ross-Smith, Margaret Peters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we analyze selected findings of a recent Australia-wide empirical study that investigated the impact of the presence of senior women executives on management cultures. The study involved interviews with 255 senior male and female executives in Australian organizations from the public, private and tertiary sectors. This paper covers data gathered from five Australian universities where 81 interviews took place. It specifically looks at the fact that the women interviewed, all in senior positions as Dean, Director or above, had rarely put themselves forward for the jobs they were now occupying. Analysis of their responses demonstrates that many of the women exhibited conflicting views about senior positions. Some had experienced discrimination, others were reticent about their capacities, ambivalent about the choices or resisted the heavy demands of the jobs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number2-3 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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