A critical exploration of approaches to professional and leadership development to break the gender bias in academic practice and progression


  • Alexandra Walker The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)




professional development, gender, women academics, digital, leadership development, bias


This paper provides a critical reflection on the extent to which professional development and mentoring schemes can challenge the gender bias in academic practice for women in Further and Higher Education.  The paper begins by outlining the barriers and challenges to career progression for women academics in Higher Education and the extent to which interventions, in this case engagement in a formal mentoring schemes and leadership development, can be perceived to positively influence career progression and/or professional practice.  The paper will then focus on the benefits and limitations of moving to a more digital approach to mentoring and professional development, to be more inclusive and further support women to engage with initiatives that will support career progression and/or practice enhancement, through the lens of initiatives at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

Author Biography

Alexandra Walker, The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

Alex Walker is Professional Development and Recognition Lead at the University of the Highlands and Islands.  Alex founded UHI’s first event for International Women’s Day in 2018 and is interested in professional development and mentoring in dispersed contexts which utilises technology, and within ensuring that this is pedagogically driven and inclusive. Alex is on Twitter @Walker80alex


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