Professor Michelle Ryan appointed inaugural director of ANU's Global Institute for Women’s Leadership

Professor Michelle Ryan appointed inaugural director of ANU’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership

Professor Michelle Ryan, a world leading thinker on women's leadership, famously coined the term "glass cliff".
Professor Michelle Ryan

Professor Michelle Ryan has been appointed inaugural Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the Australian National University (ANU).

Professor Ryan is one of the world’s leading thinkers on leadership and is a professor of social and organisational psychology. She coined the concept “glass cliff”, a term that describes how women are often put in leadership roles during times of crisis or hardship, when the chances of failure are highest.

Founded and chaired by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at ANU is the sister of an original institute for women’s leadership at King’s College, London.

Professor Ryan will join the institute at ANU to help drive gender equality in women’s career across the Asia-Pacific and expand the institute’s reach in the region.

Julia Gillard said Professor Ryan’s appointment comes as progress on gender equality has slowed during the pandemic, and in some places, is reversing.

“Evidence shows the impact of the COVID pandemic over the past 12 months has compounded many of the pre-existing barriers women face in building careers and entering leadership roles,” Gillard said.

“Michelle brings incredible experience and energy to the role and I’m looking forward to working with her to address these urgent challenges and expand the reach of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Professor Ryan completed her undergraduate and PhD qualifications at ANU, and has spent the past 17 years living in the UK, where she currently works as a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter.

Professor Ryan said she was excited to be returning to ANU after nearly two decades working in Europe.

“The last decades have shown we have made significant gains in women’s leadership. However, sadly there is much more to do,” she said.

“Women leaders all over the globe have proven to be effective, inspirational and incredibly capable. The impediments women face are still too great in number and size. We need to keep working hard to change that and improve outcomes.

“I’m looking forward to working to bring together world-leading academics with policymakers, activists, and businesses keen to close the gender gap in leadership.”

Professor Ryan will begin the new role from July 1.

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