Mexico City is hosting female university and college presidents from 25 countries this week to discuss the importance of promoting women in positions of leadership in higher education. The three-day conference is sponsored by the Inter-American Organization for Higher Education (IOHE), and features University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Vianne Timmons as a panellist.
"I'm honoured to represent the University of Regina at this conference," said Timmons. "I believe it's extremely important to be a role model for young women who aspire to leadership roles in higher education."
Timmons is the only Canadian woman University president speaking at the conference. Her experience as board chair of the Canadian Bureau of International Education and her advocacy work in the area of Aboriginal education are of great interest to the conference organizers. Part of the conference is designed to create awareness of women in leadership positions in South America, where there are very few female University presidents.
"From my experience, it's natural that a woman can be a university president," said Timmons. "I've been very fortunate in my life to have some excellent opportunities and some strong mentors. Identifying the leaders around me and learning from them has been a factor in my success. That's one of the reasons I felt it was important to be at the conference to share my story."
Timmons spoke to conference delegates about some of the challenges women face in attaining positions of leadership, and the importance of maintaining a good balance of work and family while doing so.
"Raising a family while pursuing a career in leadership in any organization is not an easy task," said Timmons. "However, with the support of family and colleagues, it is an achievable goal and one that I encourage more women to pursue."
Created in 1979 in Quebec City, the IOHE is an international university association which promotes co-operation among higher education establishments and the development of higher education in the Americas.