Gender ratios in library management (‘directorship’) roles in New Zealand public and tertiary libraries
Research problem: This study looked at the percentage of female managers in charge of library systems within New Zealand between 1980 and 2013 to see if their gender balance matched the wider library workforce (which has upwards of 80% female staff). Methodology: Directories of public libraries were examined and the gender of each library manager was noted. Results: The overall figure for library managers was found to be around 80%, with a slight improvement over the period examined. However, when public libraries were divided by size, the results for the 1980s showed that large libraries had fewer female managers than the overall library workforce, while small libraries had a larger percentage. This difference was shown to decrease over the period studied, until both large and small libraries had around 80% female staff. A similar result was shown in preliminary data sourced from New South Wales (Australia), which suggested that this trend also occurs overseas. The New Zealand data also considered tertiary institutions. At the beginning of the study, only one out of six university library systems was managed by a woman, while in the most recent year seven out of ten managers were female. In contrast, there was found to be a high percentage of female managers in charge of polytechs over this same time. Implications: These results suggest that a gender bias existed within some sectors of librarianship (within large public libraries and university libraries) at the beginning of the study period, but that this bias has largely disappeared in recent years.