Exploration of the current issues of women leadership in higher education of Saudi Arabia

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Abstract The present study has been explored and investigated the current issues of women leadership in the perspective of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the study has aimed to identify what are core causes behind gender discrimination and how it is influencing the women education and career development opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Finally, the study intends to offer institutional, legal and social framework can deal with women leadership issues in higher education in Saudi Arabia. To meet the objectives of this study, the study has collected data from professors, lecturers, and management of business management and technology campuses of King Abdullah university in Saudi Arabia. The study has used mixed method which increase the richness in data and confirmability of results. Overall, the findings have showed challenges with respect to gender discrimination, political, culture, intuitional and religious challenges that influence the women education and career opportunities in higher education in Saudi Arabia. Findings reveal that women have only 8-percent key designations which is far less as compared to men. Some respondents have argued that women have far less power compared to uneducated men in Saudi Arabia therefore they are unable to take the decision with respect to their study can career opportunities. However, it is found that media is playing very positive role to highlight the women empowerment issues and rights especially in the context of higher education. Results indicated that compared to past now both boys and girls have equal opportunities to get higher education in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, most of the men (68%) compared to women (48%) are interested to join universities in abroad for post graduate degrees. Whereas the responses of semi-structured interview revealed that the women considered themselves as goal oriented, hardworking and able to hold leadership positions. However, the interview data revealed that there are high number of men which are working at top designations as well as getting promotions at faster track. The study has discussed the practical recommendations which are useful to address the issues of women leadership in higher education.