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Paula Burkinshaw and Kate White

This chapter explores the effectiveness of networks for women in or aspiring to higher education leadership, using communities of practice of masculinities and femininities for learning leadership as a framework. The research investigates the potential and value of networking in improving gender equality in academic leadership and particularly in increasing the visibility of women in senior roles whereas previous studies have focused on the importance of networks for women’s career advancement. The data were generated through a mixed methods inter-generational study involving case studies of both senior and emerging leaders in the UK and Australia. The research found that women in top leadership positions negotiated and navigated gendered leadership cultures by “fitting in” to masculine networks rather than challenging them. However, perceptions of the generation coming through are that top leadership does not serve their interests so they have no wish to “fit in,” whereas networking gives them a voice.