An exploratory study on barriers and enablers for women leaders in higher education institutions in Mexico

Greeni Maheshwari, Lizbeth A. Gonzalez-Tamayo, Adeniyi D. Olarewaju

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Mexico, the second-largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, has a gender gap index score of 76.4% in 2022 compared to 75.7% in 2021 and is ranked 31 out of 146 countries for 2022. Mexico has become one of the world's leaders in gender-political equality, which shows that the gender ceiling is cracking, and it is yet to see if gender parity is achieved in other sectors as well. The women's leadership topic has been widely researched in many countries, but with this changing dimension in the political sector, it is important to know if any changes are happening in the education sector as well. This exploratory research aims to identify what motivates women to take up leadership roles and whether they still experience barriers in higher education institutions (HEIs). This study was conducted with 22 women participants from Mexico's HEIs. The study used a qualitative narrative research design to understand what enablers and barriers are experienced by Mexican female academics. The study identified four key barriers and four enablers that affected women's career and leadership development. Gaining a deeper understanding of the barriers and enablers that affect women's career and leadership development can be used to investigate how culturally appropriate developmental relationships can create ways to overcome the barriers they experience. Further, the study's implications can support human resource development initiatives.

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