Publication Date

Fall 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Aaron Hughey (Director), Monica Burke, Kimberlee Everson, and Antony D. Norman

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Women leaders have become a modern topic of discussion throughout the media and research, with the notion that women have a voice and desire fair treatment. The purpose of the study was to investigate women leaders from diverse career backgrounds and discover their points of view on empowerment in order to determine similarities and differences among these women. The objective in the research was for women leaders to share their own definition of empowerment in regard to leadership and to articulate ways they inspire others. As the numbers of women leaders increase, empowerment has become a crucial part for females as they continue to strive to meet higher career goals in the workforce.

A Q-sort methodology was used as a semi-qualitative approach for women leaders to rank words of empowerment and facilitate discussions and conversations among these women. The Q-sort consisted of two different sets of grids. One focused on internal traits, which was to share one’s own personal opinion, and the second was geared toward external factors that involved empowering other people. After completing the grids, interview questions were utilized to gather more details of the participant’s answers and leadership perspectives. The results illustrate similarities and differences among women leaders and their experiences of feeling empowered, as well as giving inspiration and motivation to those who work with them.


Education | Educational Leadership | Women's Studies