Empowering Women in University Leadership: The Impact of Academic Counseling and Psychological Services in Iran and Iraq

Document Type : Qualitative Research Paper


1 PhD. Candidate of Education, Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Professor of Education. Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran

3 Professor of Educational Administration, Department of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran



This article presents a theory using an interpretive approach to explore the role of counseling and psychological services in empowering women in management and leadership positions at universities. The study systematically examines this role through data collected from 22 participants, including students, staff, professors, and female university managers, from Kurdistan University in Sanandaj and Salah al-Din University in Erbil. Participants were purposefully selected, and data was gathered via semi-structured interviews. Analysis involved a novel method and continuous comparative analysis through three-stage theoretical coding. This process identified 300 open codes, 35 central codes, and seven selective codes: mental ability, economic ability, political ability, social ability, group ability, physical ability, and academic ability. The findings revealed that empowerment is a process rather than a product. For counseling and psychological service programs to be effective, all individuals involved in the empowerment process must have a clear understanding of its requirements and methods. Ultimately, the success of these efforts is likely determined by the women themselves. While empowerment is crucial within universities, creating a positive organizational atmosphere and a supportive culture that fosters spontaneous empowerment among female students, employees, and managers is equally important. Moreover, establishing empowerment initiatives strengthens the move towards university independence and reinforces the perception of higher education institutions as unique entities with distinct cultures. The study also highlights the importance of context and situational factors in implementing empowerment, emphasizing the need to avoid applying models that do not align with cultural contexts. Finally, university administrators must be personally committed to empowering women in management and leadership roles before any efforts can be successful.


Main Subjects

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