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Title: Challenges impeding women into leadership roles in a student-led organization at the South African higher education institution
Authors: Jali, Nokwanda 
Suknunan, Sachin 
Bhana, Anrusha 
Keywords: University;Transformation;Equality;Empowerment;Policy;Qualitative
Issue Date: Dec-2021
Publisher: Business Perspectives
Source: Jali, N., Suknunan, S. and Anrusha Bhana. 2021. Challenges impeding women into leadership roles in a student-led organization at the South African higher education institution. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 19(4): 508-518. doi:10.21511/ppm.19(4).2021.41
Journal: Problems and Perspectives in Management; Vol. 19, Issue 4 
The study shows that a patriarchal society where women are still in the minority when
it comes to leadership positions is still dominating. A few studies are exploring the role
of women in leadership in government and industry, and very little focus is paid on
higher education institutions and more especially – from a female leadership perspective.
Therefore, this paper aims to determine the factors that hindered female students
from attaining leadership positions and simultaneously make recommendations to
create more leadership opportunities in a nationally recognized student-led organization
known as the Student Representative Council at a large public South African
higher education institution – the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The target population
was 16 female leaders who served in the University’s Student Representative Council
from 2019 to 2020 of which 13 had responded. A qualitative approach was followed
and interviews were conducted. The study employed inductive qualitative thematic
analysis using NVIVO 12. Findings revealed that the Student Representative Council
structure at the university was patriarchal with little commitment to gender equality.
Males outnumbered women in leadership roles. Portfolios assigned to women
were mainly administrative rather than leadership. Females were subjected to stereotypical
behavior. The study recommended ways to promote female student leadership
whereby policy and constitution change is required to facilitate gender equality and the
implementation of quotas. Women should be empowered to enhance their leadership
skills via effective leadership development programs specifically designed for females
to address the leadership gap between males and females.
ISSN: 1727-7051 (Print)
1810-5467 (Online)
Appears in Collections:Research Publications (Accounting and Informatics)

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