International Women's Day 2023: Top Universities Led by Women

08/03/20237 minute read
International Women's Day 2023: Top Universities Led by Women

March 8th is International Women’s Day — a global celebration of the achievements of women around the world and an appeal to continue working toward a life of gender equality for all. To celebrate the strides women have made in the higher education sphere and beyond, we’re highlighting the top universities led by women!

There has been a shift in the top tiers of major universities recently. Sian Beilock became the first female president of Dartmouth College in 2022. Claudine Gay made history by becoming Harvard’s first black president and only the second woman to lead the elite institution. George Washington University also appointed its first female president in Ellen Granberg.

Outside the United States, in East Asia, Nancy Ip took charge as the first-ever female president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2022, and in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulziz University saw Hana Abdullah Al-Nuaim take over as interim president.

Analysis of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 reveals that 48 of the top 200 educational institutions are currently led by women. This is an increase from the 43 universities led by women in 2022 and now amounts to 25% of the top 200 universities in the world.

Let’s take a closer look at the top ten institutions powered by women leaders globally:

Top Universities with Female Leaders
No.UniversityLeaderTimes Higher Education RankingRegion
1University of OxfordIrene Tracey1.United Kingdom
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Sally A. Kornbluth5.United States
3University of California, BerkeleyCarol Christ8.United States
4University of PennsylvaniaElizabeth Magill14.United States
5Cornell UniversityMartha Pollack20.United States
6University of WashingtonAna Mari Cauce26.United States
7London School of EconomicsBaroness Minouche Shafik37.United Kingdom
8University of British ColumbiaDeborah Buszard40.Canada
9Monash UniversityMargaret Gardner44.Australia
10University of QueenslandDeborah Terry53.Australia

A Closer Look

1. Irene Tracey, University of Oxford

Professor Irene Tracey is currently Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, her alma mater. She is also Professor of Anaesthetic Neuroscience in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. 

2. Sally Kornbluth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Sally Ann Kornbluth is a cell biologist and the 18th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 2023. She is the second female president of the university. Kornbluth was previously the James B. Duke Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine.

3. Carol Christ, University of California, Berkeley

Carol Tecla Christ is an American academic administrator. In March 2017, she was named the 11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, the first woman to hold that position.

4. Elizabeth Magill, University of Pennsylvania

Mary Elizabeth Magill is the 9th president of the University of Pennsylvania, a position she has held since July 1, 2022. She was the provost of the University of Virginia and a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law from 2019 to 2022. She was dean of Stanford Law School from 2012 to 2019.

5. Martha Pollack, Cornell University

Martha Elizabeth Pollack is an American computer scientist who has served as the 14th president of Cornell University since April 2017. Previously, she served as the 14th provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the University of Michigan from 2013 to 2017.