The academy must bridge the gender divide

A complex of practices exclude women in favour of men, even when the latter are mediocre.  

Why are there so few senior women in the academy?  The excuses are well worn, if not by now downright offensive: there are not enough women academics; women do not meet the standards for academic leadership; if only there were enough women with doctorates; and women do not make themselves available for leadership.  Yet every public university in South Africa and abroad contains in one or more policy documents a commitment to gender equity and women’s empowerment in the academy.  And still the data remains the same: women are over-represented in university lecturerships and lower levels of administration but under-represented in professorships, departmental headships and senior management positions.  Why?