We are pleased to announce that the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford has elected Rhodes Project Director Susan Rudy as a Visiting Scholar (see profile here). Her appointment has been granted in recognition of the valuable work she and Dr Kate Blackmon are undertaking on the gender gap in leadership. Since 2012, they have been studying women who have held Rhodes Scholarships at the University of Oxford. Their data are taken from the Rhodes Project, which has conducted over 120 extended interviews with women Rhodes Scholars, and has collected over 300 responses to two different surveys.
Because women and men are selected for the scholarships specifically based on their leadership potential, not just academic achievement, the Rhodes Scholars provide a compelling sample of women who start with equal leadership potential and aspirations to men. Women have made great advances towards the workforce and public life since the 1970s, and now make up nearly half the workforce and hold 40% of managerial positions. Across the board, however, women are less likely to be promoted than equally qualified men, and stereotypes of leadership are still largely male-dominated. Why does this ‘gender gap’ persist in leadership? Blackmon and Rudy are exploring this question in academic papers, executive briefings, presentations and a book under contract to Oxford University Press for 2015.