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Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership

A dynamic research area of expertise focused on exploring and tackling gender inequalities in work and organisational contexts.

Our research

Our research has a social justice agenda, motivated by the persistent global challenge of gender inequality. The Academy aims to connect scholars concerned with tackling gender inequalities in work-based contexts both at Lancaster and beyond, to develop networks at national and international level, to showcase and stimulate ground-breaking and impactful research and to promote knowledge-sharing amongst scholars and practitioners through events seminars and workshops.

With a range of projects across multiple areas, exploring themes including gender dynamics in family business, and gender equality in Business and Management Schools, our academics are identifying solutions to key issues across the world.

Academy discussion group

Academy collaborations

Gender equality in Business and Management Schools

Despite years of progressive policy efforts to promote gender equality in Higher Education, women remain under-represented in all disciplines and at all levels of academia, especially at the professorial level, in senior leadership roles, including deans, university vice-chancellors and presidents and in gate-keeping positions, such as editorial boards and research funding bodies. The TARGETED-MPI project - Transparent And Resilient Gender Equality Through Integrated Monitoring Planning and Implementation aims to address this problem by understanding and addressing gender inequality in Business and Management Schools through the implementation and monitoring of Gender Equality Plans. TARGETED-MPI is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and includes five project partners: Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece (PI); Lancaster University, United Kingdom; Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden; Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; and, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

This project is interested in understanding how gender inequality is culturally constructed. Through innovative and unique diagnostic tools the project will illuminate the taken-for-granted and underlying attitudes, values, and assumptions that prevent gender equality efforts within Business and Management Schools. Collaborative conversations with project partners and iterative analysis of gender equality theory and organisational practice will facilitate the creation and implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) specific to each partner university. The GEPs include specific tasks and practices that address issues of discrimination such as slowed career progression, gender pay gap, and lack of women in leadership positions. The GEPs move beyond generalized discussions on gender discrimination to focus on the needs and constraints of the specific partner School. With this knowledge, the GEPs can then create tasks to address the named barriers. The partnering of structurally and geographically diverse B&M Schools adds depth and richness to our understanding of gender equality within Business and Management Schools and requires the TARGETED-MPI team to think beyond one-size-fits-all responses and solutions to the generic outcomes of gender inequality.

The GEPs will set key benchmarks for improvement and rely on outside monitoring to make sure the partner Schools meet their expected deadlines. While acknowledging and preserving the need for context and organisation specific gender equality plans, the project hopes to conclude with ‘best practices’ that can inspire other B&M Schools in their own gender equality efforts.

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Gender Matters

Businesses put gender equality and inclusivity high on their agenda. Media coverage of gender issues at work has never been greater, and we are seeing increased legislation to recognise the importance of gender equality including pay gap reporting and shared parental leave policy. Yet despite this attention, women continue to be under-represented in positions of power in organisations.

The Gender Matters project created in 2018 aims to shed light on this resilient problem by drawing on a range of international and national sources to identify the scope and range of gender challenges facing UK organisations.

Visit Gender Matters
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Gender dynamics in family business

Researchers at the Centre for Family Business, are working in collaboration with members of the Academy for Gender, Work, and Leadership, to delve into the complexity of gender dynamics in families in business. This undertaking is important due to the increasing interest in understanding how gender influences roles and practices in family business, and to address the critique that women’s contribution in family business has been under investigated.

Family businesses represent the dominant form of business across the globe, and the importance of women in their emergence and continuity cannot be underestimated. Current work is revealing the diverse pathways that women engage into to start, develop and ensure the continuity of family businesses in diverse cultural contexts, discussing the role of gendered norms in a business family and challenging prior misconceptions about men’s and women’s role and participation.

In a unique collaboration, The Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership joined with three other LUMS areas of research expertise (Pentland Centre for Responsibility in Business; The Centre for Family Business; The Work Foundation) to bring leading academics, policy-makers and family business representatives and associations together for a two-day workshop at Lancaster Castle; Resilience and Family Business.

Participants explored resilience through the lenses of planet, place and people with keynote contributions, expert panels and group discussions.

More information and resources from the event are here: Resilience and Family Business 2022

Family business

Researching Gender in Management

Gender and management research is complex and challenging requiring methods that can interrogate and make explicit deeply embedded social issues and structural inequalities. A key focus of our researchers is the development of critical methodologies and methods that can uncover and understand gendered systems, processes, practices and behaviours in multiple organisational and socio-cultural contexts in order to seek opportunities for change.

The Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership hosted a series of six online seminars focused on research methods in gender and management between January and June 2023. Convened by Professor Valerie Stead and Dr Sophie Alkhaled, each seminar introduced a particular method and featured expert scholars on gender and management. Speakers presented a method, with an illustration of it in use, providing key guidelines for use and ethical considerations. The series was supported by The Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI) and drew on the recently published Edward Elgar Handbook of Research Methods on Gender and Management.

View recordings and presentations from these and other seminars in the Academy events archive.

Group discussion

Individual member projects

Entrepreneuring as survival: The case of Syrian women refugees

The project explores contexts of forcible displacement, focusing on Syrian women refugees’ entrepreneurial practices in setting up and running ‘survivalist’ home-based micro enterprises. Specifically, the project illustrates how Syrian women refugees engage in identity work through cultural heritage entrepreneurship as a means of economic survival and cultural revival in the contexts of Jordan, the Zaatari Refugee Camp and the United Kingdom. It also highlights methodological challenges conducting such research with vulnerable communities. The project is funded by Lancaster University’s Global Challenges Kick-Starter Fund and LUMS Pump-Priming Award.

Publications from the project

Reuber, B., Alkhaled, S., Barnards, H., Coupper, C., & Sasaki, I. (Forthcoming) Something Borrowed Something New: Challenges in Using Qualitative Methods to Study Under-Researched International Business phenomena. Journal of International Business Studies

Alkhaled, S. and Sasaki, I. (2021) Syrian women refugees: coping with indeterminate liminality during forcible displacement. Organization Studies, pp.1-23 DOI: 10.1177/01708406211040214

Alkhaled, Sophie (2019). The resilience of a Syrian woman and her family through refugee entrepreneurship in Jordan. In Sibylle Heilbrunn, Jörg Freiling, & Aki Harima (Eds.), Refugee entrepreneurship: A case- based topography (pp. 241–254). London: Palgrave.


Current activities


Discover more of the work of the Academy through our research videos


View previous events from the Centre in the events archive

Our people

Academy Director

Sophie Alkhaled

Dr Sophie Alkhaled

Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in Management Education, Pentland Centre

Academy members

Patricia Boyallian

Dr Patricia Boyallian

Lecturer in Corporate Finance

Corporate Finance and Banking

Lola Dada

Professor Lola Dada

Head of Department, Professor of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

WP C065, C - Floor, Management School
Allan Discua Cruz

Dr Allan Discua Cruz

Senior Lecturer

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Latin America Research Cluster, Pentland Centre

C048, C - Floor, Management School
Cynthia Forson

Dr Cynthia Forson

Deputy Provost Lancaster University Ghana and Director - External Engagement West Africa

Bingbing Ge

Centre for Family Business

Ellie Hamilton

Centre for Family Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

C112, C - Floor, Management School
Sarah Jack

Professor Sarah Jack

Distinguished Professor

Centre for Family Business, Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in Management Education, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Pentland Centre

Claire Leitch

Professor Claire Leitch

Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership, Executive Dean

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

D10, D - Floor, Management School
Mandy Lim

Mandy Lim

Doctoral Research Associate, PhD student

Robyn Remke

Institute for Social Futures Fellow

+44 (0)1524 522087 C085a, C - Floor, Management School
Valerie Stead

Pentland Centre, People, Work and Organisation

C091b, C - Floor, Management School
Emma Watton

Emma Watton

Senior Teaching Fellow, PhD student

Centre for Scholarship and Innovation in Management Education

+44 (0)1524 593038 C038, C - Floor, Management School