Report: Only a third of Mass. colleges, universities are led by women

More women are attending college today than at any other point in time, so why is the number of women leading these institutions so low?

Currently, more than 70% of women make up the student body of colleges and universities across the U.S., but they aren't making it up to the president's office.

A new report by the EOS Foundation found that only a third of the state's colleges and universities are led by women.

"I've been working in higher education for 30 years and I've always seen this disparity in terms of gender," said Dr. Valerie Roberson.

Dr. Roberson is the President of Roxbury College, and only the second woman to lead the school in that position.

"More than anything it's a challenging job, it takes a level of dedication," said Roberson. "It takes devotion because it's not a 9 to 5 type of position, you know? I'm working seven days a week."

The problem, however, is that there is no shortage of female educators out there to fill these positions.

Nationwide, 77% of teachers are female, but only 47% of those women go on to become public school principals. The number drops significantly to just over 13% for female superintendents. In higher education, only 3 in 10 presidents are women.

In Massachusetts, those numbers are slightly higher, but the majority are at community colleges.

"There's more opportunity when the money is not the same," said Dr. Roberson. "So if you look at the annual percentage yield (APY) between higher education in terms of universities and community colleges, women have more access to community colleges because it's not the same prestige and the pay is not as high."

Both the EOS study and Dr. Roberson say that improving diversity on school trustee boards will make a huge difference. A change of culture in higher education that includes promoting women in the pipeline for leadership is key to changing the status quo.

"Until there is a reflection of gender and racial equity within those ranks, I think you'll continue to see that people don't have the same opportunities," said Dr. Roberson.

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