Women continue to be underrepresented in top jobs in America’s institutions of higher education, holding less than 40% of executive leadership roles. One notable exception is Washington University in St. Louis, where women comprise 89% of Chancellor Andrew D. Martin’s cabinet and 56% of the university leadership council.
Martin did not set out to fill his nine-member cabinet almost exclusively with women; he simply wanted the best people. To ensure women were in the mix, he sought leaders with impressive talent, not necessarily impressive titles. Martin also established family-friendly policies and created a culture that welcomes diverse ideas.
“A lot of social science shows that women will only apply for a job if they meet every requirement, while men will apply if they meet a few criteria,” said Martin, who assumed the chancellorship in 2019. “From an academic leadership perspective, you have to wonder who you are missing. That’s why I consider it part of my job to find and proactively encourage talented women to take that next step in their career. It’s equally important to develop a deep bench of talent who will be ready to serve as the next generation of higher education decision makers.”
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