International Women's Day: Faculty Spotlight Dr. Lea Hubbard

Dr. Lea Hubbard
begin quoteI want SOLES students to know and appreciate that despite the gender bias that persists, women have overcome these challenges and created a path for this generation of women to take up their role as emerging leaders.

March 8th is International Women's Day. To celebrate and recognize this day, we sat down with a few female leaders from the  School of Leadership and Education Sciences including Dr. Lea Hubbard, Professor and Chair of Department of Leadership Studies.

Why is it important for SOLES to value the role of women in your degree program?
International women's day provides a space to recognize the significant contributions that women have made in improving conditions around the world. Women have been leaders in: K-12 and higher education, the nonprofit sector, military and in organizations more generally. They have been transformative leaders whose achievements historically and today deserve attention. I want SOLES students to know and appreciate that despite the gender bias that persists, women have overcome these challenges and created a path for this generation of women to take up their role as emerging leaders.

How do you lift up the women in your life/community?
I make every attempt to accelerate gender equity in the contexts in which I engage whether it's the classroom, in my research or in my personal life. Much of my research has been focused on educational issues as they relate to gender. I think it's important to ensure that women's voices are heard and their accomplishments are recognized. I honor the women who have tackled injustice and I am inspired by their efforts. I feel it is important to expose inequities that disadvantage women and create new structures and engage in a reculturing of our organizations to empower women.

How do you choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequity?
You have to name gender bias when you see it. Gender inequity persists. We see it in our political, social, personal and professional lives. If we don’t call out the injustice, the efforts of millions of women are undermined. In some of my research I have tried to expose the construction of gender inequality. In higher education the promotion and tenure process, salaries, and opportunities to take up leadership roles has historically suffered from gender disparities. When bias is left unchecked (explicit and implicit bias) women and women of color in particular have been disadvantaged. Systemic practices that construct inequity need to be remedied.  How many female presidents of universities do we see? How many female CEOs? When will our country allow a woman to be President? Some countries have done better than the US. Look at the powerful women who are leading New Zealand and Germany. Our new Vice- President offers us hope. We need to be reminded of inequities and the systemic practices that keep them in place. We must take purposeful action to allow the next generation of women to advance.

What do you hope is accomplished through celebrating International Women's Day? 
An increased awareness of the role that women have played in affecting change around the world. Many powerful women have carved the way to allow the women of today to have opportunities that were not present decades ago. I want our students to gain an appreciation of that. We are standing on the shoulders of some giants. We need to elevate the level of discourse about the important role that women play so that this generation of women will become the leaders our world needs.

Anything else you would like to add?
I am inspired and motivated, particularly on this day to also bring the importance of gender equity to the attention of my son and daughter and my grandchildren.

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