Avila Now

April 7, 2022

Education Takes Lead for Women in Leadership Positions

Women have been battling an uphill climb into leadership positions for decades and are slowly making headway, but gender equality remains an issue. Women are still fighting against gender pay disparities, a lack of opportunities and promotions against their male counterparts, and a missing voice at the table. 

Women have faced harsh setbacks during the pandemic, many leaving their jobs to adjust to the new reality of life and familial needs. “In the first year of the COVID-19 recession, 2.4 million women left the labor force. As of January 2022, men have recovered all their workforce losses since the start of the pandemic. Women, meanwhile, are still 1 million short of their pre-pandemic workforce levels,” according to the National Women’s Law Center and LinkedIn News.

Despite the setbacks of the pandemic, the number of women in leadership positions has been trending upwards since 2015, according to data compiled at LinkedIn News. Even with the slow growth of progress, women are still disproportionately underrepresented in these roles. 

Graph: Women are moving on up. The share of women hired into leadership positions in the U.S. is up almost 10% since 2015, despite the significant setbacks women have faced at work during the pandemic.
Despite pandemic setbacks, women in leadership positions are still on the rise.

Education is the top industry for women in leadership roles, at 53%, but it’s still low when compared to the percentage of women in the field–61%.  “I would guess that is because there are often more women in the teaching profession, therefore, creating more opportunities for these women to become school leaders,” said Academic Principal at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, and Avila School of Education Advisory Board Member, Barbara McCormick. 

“I recently attended the Missouri Association for Secondary School Principals and during that conference, I attended a session on women school leaders networking and mentoring one another. It is still evident that there are more elementary and middle school women leaders than at the secondary level as well as superintendent level,” said McCormick.

Chart: Top Industries for women in leadership. These industries have the highest share of women in senior leadership positions, but none of them match of exceed the percent of women in the field overall.
Teacher leaders give education the top spot among industries with the highest number of women in leadership positions.

“Avila education students come ready to learn, apply, and explore opportunities in the educational field. They are great leaders in and out of the classroom with students and colleagues. As a Catholic school, they also bring with them a spiritual and holistic approach to teaching,” said McCormick. 

“At St. Teresa’s Academy, we pride ourselves on employing highly qualified instructors to provide rigorous, challenging, and engaging lessons that align with the school’s mission. An unexpected opening in our math department led to the hiring of an Avila University graduate mid-semester. She stepped into the classroom with confidence, knowledge, innovative instructional practices, and a desire to collaborate with colleagues. We are grateful to the School of Education at Avila University for developing young professionals like this one.”

Avila University is proud of its education programs and the women in leadership in the department. With women making up 82% of the School of Education faculty and staff, Avila’s education programs prepare students, by example and through first-hand experiences, to be teacher leaders in and out of the classroom. 

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