Amy Bonomi, Ph.D., co-edited “Women Leading Change: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Cliff, and Slipper.” Bonomi and co-editor Callie Rennison, Ph.D., examined the perspectives of 23 female leaders on issues of leadership and the challenges of confronting structural racism, bias and discrimination at colleges and universities.

Researchers collected data from statistical databases in addition to conducting 23 individual interviews of female leaders. Participants were asked about the challenges that women and women of color face in leadership positions at colleges and universities.

Key findings include:

  • When women of color occupy leadership positions in higher education, they often face “glass cliff” scenarios; they are elevated to leadership roles when the organization is in crisis and their risk of failure is high.
  • 30% of college and university presidents are women and only 5% of college and university presidents are women of color.
  • Women of color tend to be reflected in diversity-related positions and may not be cultivated for other types of leadership positions.
  • Black and Latinx women hold only 1.6% and 2.1% of full professorships, respectively.

Read more to learn about structural racism and bias at colleges and universities.


Bonomi, A. (2020, July 28). 5 ways higher education can be seen as hostile to women of color. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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