Gurugram, July 19, 2023: Underlining its commitment to bridging the gender gap in higher education, IILM University, in collaboration with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) & Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas successfully hosted the first National Women Vice Chancellor’s Conference on Promoting Women Leadership in Higher Education.
With more than 1000 universities in India, a significant under-representation of female vice-chancellors, fewer than 100 in number, highlights a considerable gender imbalance in higher education leadership. In view of this, the conference aimed to deliver a platform for women vice-chancellors, educators, administrators, and members of academic bodies to engage in discussions on the theoretical and practical significance of learning, teaching, research, and administration.
The two-day conference commenced with an address by the special guest of honour, Dr.Kiran Bedi, former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry who inspired the audience with her empowering anecdotes and emphasised the invaluable role of women leadership in higher education.
“Let us strive for a work-life balance in universities and promote exchange programs for women. It is also imperative for both men and women to understand the intricacies of married life and embrace the uniqueness of every family. While management books may enhance one’s understanding of leadership, true leadership is nurtured through service. I am also of the firm opinion that universities should also prioritise research, as it fosters transformation and character development. As educators, remember that you are not merely teachers, but transformers shaping the future,’’ said Dr. Bedi.
The conference also comprised six thought-provoking sessions to promote holistic empowerment and inclusion of women in diverse spheres including academia and leadership. The sessions chaired by eminent personalities included-:
Gender Equity and Inclusivity in Higher Education
Roles and contribution of women in promoting Higher Education
Enabling women for Tech-enabled Higher Education including AI
Skilling women to create Atma Nirbhar Bharat
Role of women in creating a more humane society
International perspective on women leadership
Underlining the existing gender gap in higher education, Dr. Sujata Shahi, Vice Chancellor, IILM University, Gurugram said,”While higher education plays a crucial role in shaping the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow, it has long been plagued by gender disparities, restricting opportunities for women and their untapped potential. Defying the odds, women have proved significant resilience to overcome countless barriers and ascend to influential positions in academia. The first National Women Vice Chancellor’s Conference in this regard not only acknowledges these disparities but chalks out a course towards rectifying them. It is incumbent upon us to lead by example, making pathways for women to rise to leadership positions and promoting a culture that celebrates their achievements.’’
This momentous conference serves as a testament to IILM’s vision of ensuring quality education that transcends gender barriers and embraces inclusivity. The National Education Policy 2020 is poised to reshape the future of India’s education landscape. At this transformative phase, the enhanced representation of women in leadership roles in higher education will bring diversity to institutions, promoting innovative approaches and enhancing pedagogy.
Some other prominent dignitaries who graced the occasion with their esteemed presence included- Prof. (Dr.) Sujata Shahi, Vice-Chancellor of IILM University; Dr. S Y Quraishi, Chancellor of IILM University and Former President of AIU, Dr. Ranbir Singh, Pro-Chancellor of IILM University; Dr. (Mrs.) Pankaj Mittal, Secretary-General of AIU; Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India; Prof. G D Sharma, President of AIU and VC of USTM, Meghalaya; Shri Atul Kothari, Secretary of Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas, among others.