Why a level playing field needs good leadership

Published today (30th March) on the physicsfocus blog, Athene Donald argues that – ‘in the context of improving our working environment – as opposed to structuring our research – leadership is not only important: it is vital. The lot of women in particular, will not be changed radically without decisions being taken at the top.’

‘If we move up the ladder of seniority, since women in physics departments tend to be in such a minority, there is the danger of well-intentioned managers asking them to serve on far more committees than their male colleagues (and not necessarily the ones with real power either) in an attempt to approach gender balance on each one. Unless this is monitored, unless workload models are constructed and the data evaluated to check for this overload, women may all too often find themselves burdened in ways that may not be advantageous to their careers. Management/leadership needs to ensure fair workloads are apportioned transparently.’

What do you think? 

The full post can be seen here – http://physicsfocus.org/athene-donald-level-playing-field-good-leadership/



Janet Beer on leadership diversity: don’t hold out for a hero

Published today (12th March 2015), John Morgan examines why Janet Beer (Liverpool’s new Vice-Chancellor) believes there should be more women and ethnic minorities at the top.  To see the full article in the Times Higher follow this link –


‘Janet Beer, who took over as vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool last month, has a persuasive theory about why there are so few female university leaders in the UK. There is, she argues, a misconceived ideal of “heroic leadership” that holds that leaders must be “more Zeus than Athena”.

Athena v Zeus: Janet Beer says a “heroic leadership” ideal fails women

Athena v Zeus: Janet Beer says a “heroic leadership” ideal fails women











“The work to do…is about unconscious bias,” she said. “We need more thought about what leaders look like in the sector; less concentration on some kind of heroic model of leadership, something more about consensus-building and collaborative and partnership working at all levels.”

What do you think?