Past successes

MA in Women and Management in Higher Education

This Master's degree programme at the Institute of Education, University of London, was the fruit of collaborative planning initiated by those involved in the (then) ACU/CHESS Women's Programme. The programme of study was designed for individuals who wanted to:

  • have a clearer understanding of the theoretical framework that underpins the practices of women in educational management
  • have the opportunity to explore and explain the situation of women in management in higher education
  • be able to make informed decisions and plans about their working life.

It was aimed at ambitious, motivated applicants with at least a second class Honours degree or equivalent professional qualifications, who had a minimum of two years' professional experience and the potential to make a significant contribution in the field of higher education management.

The programme ran for four years (from 1997 to 2001), with four students in each cohort from ACU member universities in countries as diverse as Guyana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Trinidad. Fifteen went through the MA course with financial support from the ACU and one on a Chevening scholarship. At least three of the sixteen women are known to have gone on successfully to undertake doctoral research in areas related to gender and higher education; and one of those three, who has maintained a close relationship with the ACU's Gender Programme since her MA studies, is now a Professor in a member university in Kenya.

After the four cohorts, it was concluded by the ACU Council that the funding of students on this MA programme could no longer be sustained by the ACU.

Pacific Charter for Women Managers in Higher Education

The University of the South Pacific Council adopted the Pacific Charter for Women Managers in Higher Education on 21 October 1996. This represents a major initiative by the Pacific women and a landmark charter to ensure gender equity in higher education in the Pacific.


The Charter was based on the principles of:

  1. addressing the inequality in gender representation at management levels in higher education institutions in the Pacific
  2. the need to safeguard, support, guide and affirm the aspirations of women in higher education management in the Pacific
  3. the need to adopt appropriate action to fully utilise the talent of Pacific women. 

The Charter

  1. Pacific women are to be equally represented at all levels of policy, decision making and management in institutions of higher education in the Pacific.
  2. The untapped pool of management talent of Pacific women within each country must be recognised, and appropriate action taken fully to utilise it.
  3. Institutions of higher education in the Pacific must develop strategies to increase the pool of women eligible for management positions.
  4. The learning and working environment is to be gender friendly, encouraging the use of gender-neutral language.
  5. Higher education institutions should recognise and promote actions needed for women to have equal access to, and participation in, technical and vocational training courses. Wherever possible, higher education institutions in the Pacific are to raise awareness of gender issues through curricula, staff induction and training programmes, policies and practices, among other things.
  6. Support services are to be provided, as much as possible, to allow Pacific women to participate in learning and working opportunities at any stage of their lives e.g. appropriate accommodation, flexible working hours, creches, counselling services, mentors and role models.
  7. Pacific women's work shall be recognised and rewarded equally with men both for appointments and promotions.

Three-way exchange project

Between December 1995 and April 1996, a three-way exchange project took place which enabled three women academics representing the University of Adelaide, the University of the West Indies and SNDT Women's University (Bombay) to carry out two-week study visits at each other's institutions. The women were looking in particular at the teaching of gender studies and at ways in which networks could be developed between each university to their mutual benefits. The project was financed by a US$25,000 grant received from UNESCO. Contact with the participants ten years later revealed that this project had led to long-term strengthening of inter-regional links, the ongoing sharing of information and expertise and the enrichment of their collaborative research and research output.