There are complex social and economic barriers to women’s advancement in leadership. Add to that, gender stereotypes and diverse social norms of the many cultures spanning the Pacific Rim, and we see wide implementation gaps in gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives.
In academia, the glass ceiling and the gender pay gap continue to block the advancement and participation of women in leadership. The 2019 Gender Gap report by APRU – which surveyed 40 leading universities in the region – found that women in Pacific Rim universities have made little progress in moving into university leadership positions over the past five years, despite a raft of initiatives at the university level.
As leaders, the universities of APRU are committed to leading by example, addressing gender imbalances on their own turf through various initiatives. The Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Program (APWiL) aims to drive change in gender equality while taking into account the various contexts in which this pursuit for gender equity takes place across APRU member universities.
Case studies presented by APRU member universities have shown the great work that is taking place to address challenges in gender equality. At the same time, we are hearing of a growing global backlash that investment in women’s education does not result in the increased contribution by women to the workforce.