WomenCount is a non-profit organisation benchmarking women’s leadership across charitable, academic and public bodies. To date much of the attention on women’s leadership has been focussed on private sector boards and senior women. Other sectors play an equally valuable role in creating a stable, prosperous society and will increasingly be the partners of the private sector in the 21st century. All need to reap the benefits of diverse leadership – more efficient, innovative organisations that respond to stakeholder needs and prudently assess risks.


A new report, WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education, was launched in March 2016 at Imperial College London. The report allows us to see the changes taking place in women’s representation in leadership roles in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK. It indexes the representation of women as governing body members, Chairs and Vice-Chancellors in each of the 166 HEIs in the UK that are publicly funded. It also reports on the participation of women as Chancellors, Chairs of key committees, executive team members and academic heads. New female Chairs and Vice Chancellors appointed since 2013 are profiled. WomenCount is grateful to global executive search firm Perrett Laver for their sponsorship of this report and their active engagement in its launch.

“With the percentage of female students in the UK at an all-time high of 56% it is vital that we tap into the huge talent pool of women to lead our universities. WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education 2016 serves to strengthen that argument.”
Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities

“We are delighted to share in the learnings from this report, and in the debates that ensue, to discuss what we together can do, all of us, as we continue to ensure appropriate gender diversity at all levels within universities.”
Libby Hackett and Kate Hunter, Senior Partners, Global Higher Education practice, Perrett Laver

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Read the Report