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The “leaky educational pipeline” metaphor refers to the steady tapering off of women obtaining graduate degrees and reaching the level of a tenured faculty member, although the number of women earning college degrees has surpassed males since the 1980s. Women are disproportionately represented among faculty and leadership at land-grant institutions and in the agricultural education profession. The purpose of this study was to provide a synthesis of women’s experience in postsecondary agricultural and extension education (AEE) by describing the common and diverging challenges, opportunities, and mentoring experiences of women faculty and graduate students in the profession. The study was a textual narrative synthesis of two preliminary studies which provided an updated profile of the current organizational climate and mentoring experiences of women faculty and women graduate students in AEE. Three overarching themes with 11 categories emerged to summarize the experiences of women in AEE: (a) navigating a traditional academic system, (b) operating in a male-dominated discipline, and (c) influencing change in the profession. These findings challenge the AEE profession to critically acknowledge women’s experiences and begin looking outside academia for solutions to create a more inclusive organizational culture that values gender diversity.
Cline, L. L.,
Weeks, P. P.
(2023). Breaking the Cycle: Women’s Experience in Postsecondary Agricultural and Extension Education.
Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 11(1), 3.
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