Enablers for women’s leadership in Vietnam’s higher education
Despite the number of barriers, women leaders also receive various support during their career growth.
Mentoring support has been playing an important role in the development of women leaders in HEIs.
“This kind of support and encouragement from their mentors and line managers might motivate women in their career enhancement,” Dr Maheshwari said.
“The women feel more comfortable to work with female mentors due to the collegial leadership style of women leaders, and this can be helpful in bringing a better supportive environment at the workplace.”
“Apart from the women’s qualifications and personal abilities, the strong support from their families or relatives are helping the women and found to be a decisive factor for women to become a leader,” she said.
The RMIT researcher suggested that another motivator was “the changing mindset of the employers towards women leaders and the open-minded attitude of young male colleagues who show their acceptance towards female leaders.”
Dr Maheshwari said Vietnamese HEIs can use the research findings to frame policies and programs that support a more diverse workplace.
“The inclusion of female leaders will be helpful to promote diverse leadership in an institution and this will help improve the organisation’s productivity further,” she said.
As an academic who has been researching in this area, Dr Maheshwari believes there are some further support measures which can be implemented for women leadership in HEIs:
- Forming new policies including reducing workload in some areas such as research, supervision, teaching, and management for women leaders might help them to manage the work-life balance.
- Arranging formal networking events during working hours may prove to be beneficial, and women might not feel that they have to sacrifice their family time after work.
- Introducing professional development opportunities can support women in realising their professional and personal aspirations, and this might boost their confidence in taking up leadership roles in the future.
- Building a supportive work culture where women leaders get their due respect will help them feel inclusive.
Dr Maheshwari’s research Women leadership in Vietnamese higher education institutions: An exploratory study on barriers and enablers for career enhancement was published in Educational Management Administration & Leadership Journal. The research finding might be a stepping-stone to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality in Vietnam, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Story: Thuy Le