“It’s not straight forwards, never is”
– An interview of Olivia Grant on woman leadership issue
“There are a lot of women in academic circles, but there aren’t many women professors, as I think there should be”, said Olivia Grant, OBE. Grant is a Deputy Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear and is the chairman of Newcastle University.
Women are now more visible at the highest levels of leadership in UK. But another part of reality is that women are still under-represented in the highest echelons of leadership.
According to statistics offered by Blanford et al (2011) in ‘Absent leaders’, 19.8% of professors in the UK are women. Only 14% of the heads of higher education institutions in the UK are female. Considering political and business areas, the percentages of women in top executive positions in the UK are also low. This is both a loss of brain power and also prevents women are from being fully presented in society. Olivia believes that progress is slow. “It has increased, but it not increased as fast as we thought it would.”
There are still a lot of things to be done. Olivia said: “I think one of the issues is to look at the way which promotion opportunities are properly run.” She also suggests organisations should have regard to the time women want to spend with their families.
This is a complicated social problem, not just about numbers. Top jobs require long working hours and stressful pressure. The fact is lots of women tend to choose to serve on middle level management occupations but not go higher in order to balance work and family. As Olivia told us: “It’s not straight forwards, never is.”