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Personal and professional development programmes for women: Paradigm and paradox

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During the 1990s a number of positive/affirmative action initiatives were taken in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, to support the career development of women working in higher education, and as part of the attempt to address the gender imbalance that exists among academic staff and professional administrators, particularly at senior levels. A model for a management development programme for women at different stages of the career life cycle is presented as one such initiative. Evaluation and feedback from delegates has been consistently positive, immediately following courses and over the longer term. However, although there has been a small increase in the number of women being promoted, the overall percentage of women at senior levels remains low, both in the institutions that have participated in the programmes and in higher education generally. The rationale for such initiatives is examined in the context of factors that have been found to affect women's progress, and questions are raised about the implications for human resource development professionals in higher education.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/136014400410123

Affiliations: Centre of Academic Practice, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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