Women leaders in Indian organizations experience several challenges and obstacles that affect their career progression as well as performance. The study was premised on the under-representation of women in leadership positions across organizations. The challenges and barriers faced by Indian women leaders have been well documented, but very little research has been conducted on the experiences of women who aspired and achieved the top positions. The study intended to explore and develop a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of women leaders so as to define pathways for future leaders to come. The study through the prism of intersectionality theory presented constructs of successful leadership of seven women in Indian higher education. We used semi-structured interviews to record their experiences of organizational context, gender, and socio-cultural factors in enabling their leadership success. Our analysis revealed various enablers and few deterrents experienced by them. The women leaders encountered unprecedented challenges in earning respect from their male colleagues and superiors and in proving their leadership competency. Familial support and upbringing acted as the most important enablers. Successful implementation of various strategies to overcome barriers and challenges such as training, mentorship, keeping their self-confidence high, and believing in themselves helped them to reach the desired leadership positions. The study provided valuable insights into the factors and strategies contributing to the professional advancement of women leaders in Indian academia and established a discourse of intersectional identities associated with leadership experiences.
Vivek Gaikwad, Hemlata and Pandey, Suruchi
"Transitioning to the Top: Learnings from Success Stories of Indian Women Leaders in Academia,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
1, Article 27.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss1/27