Career Progression of Women Academics in Pakistani Universities: Enablers and Barriers

  • Dr. Saeeda Shah Reader in School of Education, University of Leicester, England, UK
  • Ms. Samra Bashir Lecturer in Education, University of Education, Lahore
  • Dr. Muhammad Amin University of Education, Lahore
Keywords: Career Progression, Academia, Enablers, Barriers


There is a dramatic increase in the number of women students in higher educational institutions but this had not been matched by growth in the number of women in senior leadership positions in Pakistani Universities. The current study was designed to explore the barriers and enablers that influence the professional development of women academics in Pakistan. Furthermore, the study investigated how female academicians manage the balance in their personal and professional life. Semi-structured interviews followed by a probing strategy were conducted to seek responses to these questions. 10 female academicians were selected purposively from two public sector universities of Lahore. Thematic analysis was conducted by using an inductive approach. Member check was applied for the reliability of themes drawn from the data. Each theme was explored in-depth and themes emerged from a smaller number of women were treated separately under the category of unique theme. Women considered their professional career development as a source of pride and gratification. Women academicians at the senior level enjoyed leadership roles as compared to young academicians; who were more involved in teaching and research. Females complained that they had not the information on policies relevant to their job and merit is neglected most of the time by higher authorities. Females claimed that they faced a biased attitude of their senior male colleagues/heads of departments but were highly motivated to face these challenges at the workplace.