Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Investigating the progress of female academics to upper leadership positions in the Saudi higher education sector
Author: Alenazy, Hanan M. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 7251
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Gender equality has been a constant subject of heated debate in general and in the higher education sector (HES) in particular across the world. However, the precise situation differs from country to country and culture to culture. The aim of the current research is to examine the existing patterns of under-representation of female faculty in the upper echelons of the leadership hierarchy in the HES in Saudi Arabia. In doing so, it intends to answer the following questions: 1. What major individual-, cultural-, structural-, or institutional-level constraints do female faculty encounter regarding their advancement to upper senior leadership positions? 2. To what extent are the obstacles that Saudi female academics face within the university a reflection of the influence of wider social discourses, religion, and/or traditions on the role of Saudi female academics in work settings? 3. What factors can promote women's advancement to upper leadership positions in academia, at the individual, cultural, structural, or institutional levels? The research methodology utilised a qualitative approach in the form of one single case study regarding the issue of Saudi female faculty members' advancement to senior leadership positions. The study was conducted at five sites and performed from a feminist standpoint. The research sample comprised 25 participants, all female academics from five state universities, selected purposively for this research, who had either been promoted to leadership positions or not. Additionally, there were five male participants who were considered key informants, closely connected with the formulation and implementation of policies in HE institutions in Saudi Arabia. The data collection involved both face-to-face and telephone-based semi-structured interviews as well as documentary analysis. A thematic analytical approach was employed to analyse the qualitative data gathered. The research findings attempt to offer a clear picture of the target phenomena and the manner in which sex-segregated work and Saudi culture impact how gender is constructed in Saudi Arabia, shape educational leadership in higher education, and perpetuate gender inequality. The findings establish that the barriers Saudi female academics encounter within university settings reflect the influence of religion, culture, social discourses, and traditions on their professional roles and career progress, especially to top posts. Next, the study provides insights and recommendations to help overcome these challenges and promote Saudi female faculty members' advancement to senior leadership positions at individual, cultural, structural, and institutional levels. The recommendations have the potential to contribute towards reformulating future policy and practice to actively promote equality and justice for female academics in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world in general and stimulate them to pursue top leadership positions in the higher education sector.
Supervisor: Busher, Hugh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available