Challenges (Obstacles) in Reaching Leadership Positions – Experiences of Women Professors at Novi Sad University Serbia

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Abstract

Underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in universities is a phenomenon present in most countries of the world, with some significant differences. In our work we focused on obstacles that women professors in Novi Sad University (Serbia) faced in reaching leadership positions. Analysis is based on qualitative research using a semi structured interview, statistical data and selected secondary sources. Obstacles, mentorship and networking have been researched from an idiographic perspective (reflection and the personal experience of the women at Novi Sad University). Results indicate a significant underrepresentation of women in leadership positions at Novi Sad University. Findings point to a general pattern: the more power and authority the leadership position holds, the scarcer the number of women participating in it. According to interviewees’ statements the patriarchal value system makes the leadership positions difficult to attain for women. Interview analysis also suggests additional limiting factors, such as lack of mentorship and inadequate networking, acting as inhibitors in reaching leadership positions.

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