“Holding up Half the Sky”—Women and the Glass Ceiling at a University in China

Kathy O’Sullivan


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to describe the glass ceiling is perceived by women in the role of mid-to-senior level academics and administrators in higher education in a Chinese university. This study also sought to understand the characteristics of women in mid-to-senior level positions, as well as the tools and resources necessary for women to obtain such a position in higher education. Drawing on in-depth interviews with eight women in mid-to-senior level academic and administrative positions in one university and informed by constructivist views, the essence of their lived experience helped to inform a broader discourse of women and the glass ceiling. The ?ndings highlight how women’s career progression is shaped by cultural norms and conventions.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/jetss.v1n2p58


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