ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0394.v1
Subject: Business, Economics And Management, Accounting And Taxation Keywords: academic institution; career progression; gender imbalance; glass ceiling; professionals
Online: 17 February 2021 (13:30:25 CET)
Compared to their men counterparts, women do not rapidly climb up the leadership ladder due to a glass ceiling obstacle. This study aims to explore the inhibiting factors demotivating Africa women's leadership pursuit in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). A qualitative approach was adopted using online open-ended questions to seek narratives from African women leaders on their roles and experiences of a STEM career. Data were collected using a non-probability, purposive sample of African women leaders in STEM in African research institutes and universities. Forty-two women in leadership positions in 12 African countries participated in the study, which was content analyzed, seeking patterns and themes to explore the narratives. A common thread exists in the tone and life experiences of the African women leaders in STEM. Scholarship, supportive organizational structure, commitment, hard work, and tenacity were all experienced as enablers of the career path process and their attained positions. The education level contributed to a strong leadership position. Women experience less acceptance than males in STEM leadership as the organizational culture still devalues women in leadership positions in several African countries. The study's contribution, the limitations, recommendations, and managerial implications are discussed, with suggestions for further research are made.