Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lester Archer (Co-Chair), John Baker (Co-Chair), Nicholas Brake

Degree Program

Educational Leadership Doctoral Program

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study was an investigation of the experiences of Asian Indian American Women (AIAW) in higher education in the United States. The motivation of this study was to gain a better understanding of Asian Indian American Women who, in spite of their rising presence in academia and educational attainment, are noticeably underrepresented in academic leadership roles. Asian Indian American women fall far behind White females in leadership positions in higher education.

A qualitative research methodology has been conducted. The investigation involved the narratives of the five female participants (faculty members and/or administrators in U.S. higher education) who identified themselves as Asian Indian Americans. Interview data were coded and analyzed based on the interview transcripts. Coded categories lead to the finding of common themes. Based on each research question, categories and themes have been described based on patterns.

This study highlighted primary areas, which include the experiences of the participants, their way of combatting challenges, and the role of a support system and mentors in their journeys. Findings suggest that almost all of these participants experienced gender and racial discrimination. Sometimes it was easy for them to decipher whether the discrimination was based on race or gender; sometimes it was difficult. They felt that as women of color, they lived xi in the intersection of multiple jeopardy. Along with racial and gender discrimination, these women discussed about discriminations based on their appearance such as their short height and how they dressed. As a result, most became less interested in pursuing leadership roles in higher education. All participants expressed the importance of mentoring in shaping their careers.

The implications emerging from this study include, research is still limited on Asian Indian American women (AIAW). Future studies on this topic, especially in the area of leadership, will add new dimensions to the body of existing work on minorities and women leadership in higher education.

Recommendations for future researchers are to explore more about Asian Indian Women in higher education in the United States. They may expand upon this study by exploring the experiences of those AIAW who wish to achieve the top leadership positions but have not yet done so. This subgroup of aspirant women may provide valuable data related to the barriers faced by AIAW in higher education institutions.

Future researchers can also explore the experiences of Asian Indian American Men in higher education in the United States. They can also consider comparing White women and Asian Indian women in higher education in the U.S. There are few AIAW at the leadership positions in higher education in the U.S.


Asian American Studies | Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Higher Education | Higher Education Administration | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Women's Studies