Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Norma Noonan

Second Advisor

Beverly Stratton

Third Advisor

Ruth Murphy


This thesis explores women's access to leadership positions and how women's life choices affect their leadership options. The hypotheses of the study include: 1) the assumption that gender affects access to leadership positions, 2) the discovery of a balance in role juggling is crucial to maintaining a leadership role, and 3) the access points to recruit and retain women in leadership positions can be enhanced. Beginning with the premise that it is desirable to have women in leadership roles, r review of literature explores the leadership, history, and sociology that is specific to leadership access and the portrayal of gender roles. issues that become evident include: 1) the definition of leader varies with the times and paradigm, 2) there is controversy as to whether leadership is an inborn trait or a developed skill, some combination of the two, and/or a product of a specific social dynamic, and 3) the roles people juggle are difficult to isolate and are often complex interdependent systems within cultures. A theoretical model was developed that examines the key factors of visibility, accessibility, and viability in terms of the women leaders themselves, their families, and their workplaces. Participants are Twin Cities women leaders, between the ages of 30-70, who have had positional titles within the last 10 years. Data are derived from the responses of these women who participated in focus groups or as questionnaire respondents. The research finds that the women studied perceive few barriers and many opportunities toward their leadership positions. Being a parent is the most significant role affecting women's options. The results validate the usefulness of the theoretical model.


SC 11.MAL.1995.Rosenblo.JA