Gender inequity at senior ranks in Australian public sector universities has long been recognised as a major problem. Universities are attempting to address the problem, through policies for recruitment and retention of senior women. This paper describes what happened in one faculty in a large university that has such gender equity policies when three women were appointed to head departments. At the end of a year, all three were gone. The women experienced a masculine-oriented management culture, with little experience of feminine management values. The women and the men had different perceptions of management roles and different perceptions of alternative job opportunities. Gender issues became more visible to these senior women, but remained invisible to the men. Suggestions to improve the retention of senior women include nominating a change agent to provide support and encouragement for senior women, more transparent organisational processes and structures, and changes in hiring practices.