Education Journal

I Got to Where I Am by My Own Strength: Women in Hong Kong Higher Education Management

1998.第26卷第1期(Vol. 26 No. 1).pp. 31–58


“I Got to Where I Am by My Own Strength”: Women in Hong Kong Higher Education Management


Carmen LUKE


This paper is part of a larger study on women in higher education management in southeast Asia, namely Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Case studies of eleven academic women in senior positions spread across four universities in Hong Kong are reported. The study investigates women's perceptions and experiences of "glass ceiling" factors that may impede women's career advancement to senior management levels in higher education. It is argued throughout that Western concepts of "glass ceiling" politics cannot be taken as universal explanations of women's career trajectories. Cultural "values" and "traditions" are important factors that mediate women's career ambitions and opportunities, and these are always histori cally situated. The testimonies of the women in this study suggest that in addition to domestic, family and childcare responsibilities, cultural ideologies about gender, and generational differences impact considerably on women's career paths. Other issues identified include: isolation in often male-dominated departments and disciplinary fields, lack of management training, dual career pressures among professional couples, gender differences in management and leadership styles, and a lack of support among women.