As women move up the leadership ranks in higher education, they find fewer and fewer female peers. That’s been fairly well documented by the American Council on Education and other sources, and is no surprise to those of us in the executive-search industry.
Why that’s the case is a topic fraught with complexity. There is the matter of stepping up and Leaning In to be sure, but there is also sexism — sometimes the overt kind and sometimes the subtle kind that occurs all along the leadership trajectory and affects who is mentored, who is labeled "leadership material," and who gets the kind of opportunities and assignments that lead most directly to advancement.
Of the many factors that limit women’s advancement, two are things we ought to be able to resolve: how candidates present themselves in job interviews and how search committees interpret those interviews.