African American women's experience advancing to clergy leadership positions in African American churches: A qualitative exploratory study

by Pearson, Terica T., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 127 pages; 3732414


African American women are securing clergy leadership positions in many denominational and nondenominational African American Protestant churches. Although the number of African American women in clergy leadership positions has increased, research on the experience of African American women, who have achieved clergy leadership positions within the African American church is lacking. This exploratory qualitative research study involved investigating the experiences of African American women who obtained clergy leadership positions in African American churches. The research study involved examining the barriers from the glass ceiling that African American women have encountered and the facilitators used to overcome those barriers. Using the constructs of the leadership structure of religious organizations and gender role congruity theory to examine women’s roles in leadership, the findings indicate how African American women have broken barriers in the glass ceiling to obtain clergy leadership positions. A purposive sample resulted in 16 African American women participating in this study. Four themes emerged from the study data: (a) answering the call, (b) acceptance of women in clergy leadership, (c) important attributes of female clergy leaders, and (d) preparation to overcome hindrances and challenges in obtaining clergy leadership positions. This study adds to the limited body of knowledge regarding the experiences of African American women who have been successful in advancing to clergy leadership positions, despite the barriers.

AdviserLaura Markos
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsAfrican American studies; Women's studies; Management
Publication Number3732414

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