Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 220

Full Length Research Paper

Hopes and hiccups expressed: Barriers to university female lecturers’ promotion

Rose M. Mugweni*, Tafara Mufanechiya and Thelma Dhlomo
Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 May 2011
  •  Published: 31 May 2011



The study explored barriers to promotion for university female lecturers to leadership positions. In Zimbabwe, women have gained legal rights through government pronounced policies such as the Gender policy and Affirmative Action policy (Government of Zimbabwe, 2004; Chabaya et al., 2009). The theoretical framework used is critical feminism which deals with issues that marginalize women from leadership roles in Zimbabwean universities. A qualitative research design was employed. Inductive reasoning was used to explore the research argument. The design enabled the researchers to establish how society perceives the practice of selecting leaders in institutions of higher learning. A sample of 60 lecturers, 30 males and 30 females was drawn from a population of 200 lecturers at Great Zimbabwe University. Data was collected using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The study found that very few women are in leadership positions. There is a culture of fear on the part of female lecturers to apply for vacancies. Men were not keen to support female leadership. The study recommends the need for a paradigm shift and change of mindset of women to seriously take leadership challenges that come their way. Women need to assertively compete for leadership positions whenever opportunities arise.


Key words: Barriers, female, university, promotion, lecturers, leadership.