Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL)



First Advisor

Norma C. Noonan

Second Advisor

Kathryn Swanson


This paper presents a comprehensive review and analysis of the obstacles white women encounter as they climb the corporate ladder to senior executive positions. It explores the phenomenon known as the glass ceiling. Gender issues, societal stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination will be researched to determine the impact to women seeking senior executive positions. For the purpose of this paper, senior executive positions are defined as company presidents and chief executive officers (CEO), as well as positions reporting to them. This paper will define the glass ceiling, review obstacles, determine if the obstacles still exist, and suggest ways to obtain senior executive positions in spite of those obstacles. The paper will illustrate why women are important in senior executive positions and will recommend steps for women who struggle with the glass ceiling as they aspire to senior executive roles.


SC 11.MAL.2010.Holland.LB