Theses and Dissertations

An Investigation of Female Leadership Aspirations in STEM Disciplines

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Wanda Maulding Green, Ed.D.


Women are underrepresented in the majority of STEM disciplines resulting in fewer women to seek STEM leadership positions. Although in the past decade progress has been made to remove gender barriers in STEM in efforts to close the gender gap, one contributing factor to gain more women in STEM disciplines is to increase the number of women in STEM leadership positions (Ramsey et al., 2013; Stearns et al., 2016). This mixed methods study investigated female leadership aspirations in STEM disciplines by analyzing the relationship of leadership aspirations with support systems, barriers, and self-efficacy. Data were collected from 77 participants using a Likert-scale study for quantitative questions and open-ended responses for qualitative questions. Findings indicated that the majority of participants possessed STEM leadership aspirations and a held a moderate self-efficacy as well. Parents and teachers were reported as existing support systems; however, the participants indicated a need for more support in their pursuit of leadership positions. The existence of barriers hindering their leadership aspirations was minimal. It is recommended that future research is conducted with a larger population of female students studying STEM disciplines. Increasing the number of participants in more male-dominated STEM fields is also recommended.

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