An exploration of barriers and career strategies of female leaders in Nepalese higher education

Mainali, Sarada (2021) An exploration of barriers and career strategies of female leaders in Nepalese higher education. DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/A7L1V3J6

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Although more women are entering the labour force in Nepal, women’s representation in leadership positions remains significantly low. The reasons for women’s under-representation have not been researched in the Nepalese context; therefore, the full story remains untold and women’s voices are still unheard. Thus, this research aims in providing a voice to those who are unheard by exploring the barriers faced by women leaders of higher education in Nepal through their lived stories and experiences. Moreover, this study also seeks to understand the strategies adopted by successful women leaders to manoeuvre their way into leadership positions. Social role theory, role congruity theory and feminist theory guided this qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 women leaders (department heads and above) at two large universities in Nepal. Although several studies have been conducted around the globe but the social and cultural aspects of life in Nepal are different, therefore, researchers argue that the problems cannot be generalised. The findings of this study showed various social, organisational and personal barriers such as patriarchal culture, masculine culture, work-life balance issues, gender stereotypes, negative attitudes, and lack of confidence and determination contributing to women's under-representation in Nepalese higher education. The findings of this study go beyond confirming the existence of role expectations: women are not just expected to play their gender-based roles; they also face criticism for sharing their roles. Similarly, this study also contributes a new argument to the literature; namely, that the mother-in-law plays a substantial role in contributing to women’s career progression. The outcome of the study also showed that successful Nepalese female leaders are changing their way of leadership based on their survival needs. Therefore, this study also proposes a new leadership theory “survival leadership” to define the leadership of Nepalese female leaders. This study also recommends various measures that can be implemented to improve women’s representation in leadership positions in Nepalese higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Higher Education Leadership, Nepal; Women in leadership
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 04 May 2023 14:59
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 14:59

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