Women will make up half of university presidents by 2046

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Women will make up half of university presidents by 2046

In the United States, no sector has a higher share of female leaders than higher education, reports Philip Bump for the Washington Post. Yet women make up only three in 10 college and university presidents.

These are the findings from a 2018 report on women in leadership from the Pew Research Center. After higher ed, state legislatures have the most female leaders (25%), followed by the U.S. Senate, where less than one in four members are women, and the U.S. House of Representatives, where less than one in five members are women. The groups with the least female representation in leadership are governors’ seats and corporate CEOs.

In another report, Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel questioned a sample of 4,587 adults about their attitudes surrounding female leadership. The panel found that although about 70% of women say that there are too few women in high political offices and in top executive business positions, less than 50% of men agree.

70%

of women say there are too few women in high political offices and in top executive business positions

<50%

of men agree that there are too few women in high political offices and in top executive business positions

Men and women also disagree about the reasons women are underrepresented in leadership positions. Seven in 10 women—versus about half of men—attribute the lack of representation in top political and business offices to the belief that women have to do more to prove themselves. And about six in 10 women attribute the lack of representation in each of these industries to gender discrimination, compared to smaller shares of men who say this is the case in the corporate world (44%) and in politics (36%).

But Americans feel that men and women are equally capable leaders, though 57% of Americans believe men and women have different leadership styles. In fact, 78% of women and 59% of men believe having more female leaders would improve the quality of life for all Americans.

78% of women

59% of men

believe that having more female leaders would improve the quality of life for all Americans

But parity in leadership between men and women will be a long time coming, writes Bump. Following Pew’s historical trends, women will make up half of college and university presidents by 2046, he estimates. And women won’t make up half of the Senate until 2086, half of the House until 2102, and half of all Fortune 500 CEOs until 2202.

Sources: Bump, Washington Post, 9/20/18; Horowitz et al., Pew Research Center, 9/20/18

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