B-School Dean Gender Gap

Good news: More women are heading up business schools. Not-so-good news: The woman-led schools, somewhat surprisingly, aren’t enrolling many more female students than the schools led by men.

Research from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) found that over the past five years, the number of business schools with female deans has inched upward, from 17 percent in the 2007–2008 academic year to 18.5 percent this year.

But the executive MBA and undergraduate programs at those institutions had fewer female students—24.2 percent vs. 29.9 percent for MBAs and 40.7 vs. 42.2 for undergrads—than did the schools led by men. The MBA programs at schools with female deans had only a slightly higher proportion of women students (38.6 percent) than schools with male deans (35.3 percent).

Some had predicted that as more women came to occupy the top spots, women students would feel more welcome and increasingly choose to attend those schools. It’s not clear from the survey why this isn’t happening. What is clear is that, as AACSB research coordinator Hanna Drozdowski puts it, “More work needs to be done in this space.”

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