Factors influencing the career progression of women in higher education : the case of the Durban University of Technology
This study aimed to investigate the factors influencing the career progression of women in higher education in general and South Africa in particular, using the case study of the Durban University of Technology. Recent research has shown that even though women have made some progress as compared to where they were twenty years ago, the progress of women has proven to be resistant to change in terms of higher level and rewarding positions (Turner 2012; Hofmeyr and Mzobe 2012; Botool and Sajid 2013; Mouley, 2013). According to Boushey and Farrell (2013:6), this lack of progress results from a lack of flexibility and unpredictable scheduling at the workplace. Others argue that career interruption for childbirth and rearing; domestic responsibilities; gender parities at the work place; organizational structures; and policies that do not meet the needs of female employees affect career progress (Wallace and Smith 2011:3 and Tsoka 2010:6). The purpose of the study was, therefore, to examine the nature of the progress of women in higher education, and to identify factors influencing their progress. The study was conducted at the Durban University of Technology with a sample of 250 women from academic and administrative units the stratified random sampling technique was used, in which the target population at the DUT was grouped into different strata, and then the sample elements were selected from each of the groups. The study used both quantitative and qualitative research designs (mixed method), whereby self-administered questionnaires were used to collect the data. The questionnaire consisted of open-ended and closed ended questions. The closed- ended questions were quantitative, while the open ended questions were qualitative. The closed-ended responses were then analysed using SPSS, while the open ended responses used the inductive approach to highlight the factors influencing the career progression of women in higher education, thereby leading to recommendations on policies which would enhance career progression of women in higher education. The findings of the research revealed that women are still underrepresented in higher. It was recommended that management should improve working conditions for women and ensure that the effective monitoring and evaluation of the various policies in place.