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The Dynamic of Women Leading Women in Higher Education

Jody L Reding, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


With each passing decade, women make significant strides in their educational attainment, better positioning themselves for leadership roles. Despite decades of research assessing the leadership styles of women, the established picture of women and leadership is mixed. On one hand, women are praised for possessing many of the leadership skills, behaviors and attributes associated with effective leadership (Eagly, 2007). Yet, on the other hand, women tend to deny support to one another (Sheppard & Aquino, 2014). Twenty women with various years and levels of leadership experience in higher education were interviewed to explore how they describe their experiences leading women and being led by women. Initially I planned to utilize Eagly and Carli’s (2007) labyrinth of leadership as the theoretical framework. However, analysis and interpretation of the data was more precisely aligned with Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) paradigm: the leadership challenge. The themes that emerged indicated that women who successfully lead other women describe their experiences as more than a transaction. Women, who bring forth the best in themselves and others, influence those they lead through a willingness to strengthen and challenge, pull people forward, and continuously improve.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Womens studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Reding, Jody L, "The Dynamic of Women Leading Women in Higher Education" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10272151.