Gender Diversity of Leaders of U.S. Universities

University rankings are quite a common metric to judge which schools are the most prestigious - and the most difficult - to get into. These institutions are also doing a lot to increase the diversity of their student pool.

But how do the universities rank when it comes to gender diversity of people who head these schools?

What if they were ranked according to the gender diversity of their leaders?

This analysis looks into how many of the top 50 universities, as ranked by US News & World Report, have had female leaders (presidents, chancellors, etc).

Less than half of the country's top universities and colleges have had women leading them, our analysis shows.


out of 50 institutions have had women leaders.


of the top 10 institutions have had - or currently have - women leaders.


institutions are currently led by women.

University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Pennsylvania, and Brown University have each had three female presidents.

Yale University was the first university in the list to have a female president - Hanna Holborn Gray - though she was the acting president for a year.

Gray then went on to become a full-time president at the University of Chicago.

Click on the buttons to toggle rankings to see how the ranking would differ if universities were to be ranked by how many female leaders they have had.

  • University
    Female Presidents
    U.S. News & World Ranking

How it was done:

A list of all the university presidents was compiled from the university websites. These include interim presidents and acting presidents. There were cases in which interim presidents were not mentioned on the university website but was seen elsewhere (Wikipedia). These names were not included (in any case, they were mostly men).

Then, a master file of all the baby names registered with the Social Security administration was prepared by collating all the scraped data files provided on their website. Python was primarily used for this.

Data was analyzed for gender by comparing the names of university leaders to those in the prepared master file.

Some older names didn't turn up on the list, so their gender was manually entered.

All images are owned by the respective universities and have been used only for visual representation. They have been sourced from the Wikipedia pages. No copyright infringement is intended.

Visualization was done with Isotope.js

You can take a look at the code on the projects' Github repo.