Title

Barriers to Women's Advancement In Higher Education As Perceived By Faculty and Administrators

Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Arthur Southerland

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers to women's advancement in higher education as perceived by male and female faculty and administrators at selected 4-year institutions and to identify those barriers perceived as the greatest obstacles. A 21-item questionnaire was sent to 355 male and female faculty and administrators within a selected southern state's 4-year institutions. Forty-two percent of the questionnaires were returned. A one-sample t test was used to test zero differentiation hypothesis of a single mean of the sample against a theoretical normative value of 3.00 for research questions 1-6. A value of 3.00 indicates the content item to be a moderate barrier to women's advancement in higher education. Analysis of the data indicates that male and female respondents combined perceived role conflict between career and family and lack of geographical mobility as moderate barriers to women's advancement in higher education. In addition, these respondents perceived unfamiliarity in negotiating politics within the male dominated "ole boys" system as a moderate external barrier to women's advancement. Role conflict between career and family and lack of geographical mobility were the most significant internal barriers identified by female respondents. The absence of a systematic method, either formal or informal, within the university for identifying women aspiring to higher posts and unfamiliarity in negotiating politics within the male dominated "old boys" system were also important barriers as determined by female respondents. This study examined barriers to women's advancement as perceived by male respondents. The findings reveal that the three most significant internal barriers to women's advancement in higher education were role conflict between career and family, lack of geographical mobility, and lack of terminal degree, according to male respondents. Male respondents, however, identified all nine external barriers as less than moderate barriers. Perceptions of barriers were examined based on gender and classification. No statistically significant differences in perceptions were found based on classification for internal or external barriers. However, a statistically significant difference in perceptions was found based on gender for both internal and external barriers. Female respondents perceived four internal barriers and four external barriers to be more important than did male respondents.