Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Robert Freeborough


Gender Inequality, Leadership, Ethnography, Case Study, DoD


Business | Engineering


Women are gaining education, skills, strength, and have adequate drive yet, gender inequality is still blocking their advancement into senior leadership especially in the United States (U.S.) Defense Industry. The purpose of this study was to explore gender inequality within organizational leadership, specifically within the Department of Defense (DoD) civilian sector, to identify potential barriers to ceasing the advancement of qualified women. The main research question driving this research is, what internal and external barriers exist in the defense department regarding the professional advancement of women and what factors contribute to advancement into leadership. Follow-up questions include how veteran status, education, and gender affect leadership status in the DoD. An ethnographic case study approach with triangulation was applied to answer the research questions due to having multiple data sources and the researcher being a participant in this environment allowing for an in-depth study of the culture. The findings indicate that gender inequality does still exist in the defense industry and males (X2=2471.03, p=0.000), veterans (X2=775.52, p=0.001), and those with higher education (X2=2087.24, p=0.000) are more likely to be promoted. Men are also more likely to become veterans (X2=30,523, p=0.000) which has historically been the dividing line for women in the fight for equality. The findings of this research can be applied to all organizations to improve the lives of women and minorities who are underrepresented in top leadership positions by giving them a voice, supporting them, and making a way for them to advance. God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, see visions and dream dreams” (New International Version, Acts 2:17). We are all one Spirit and form one body, and the body is made up of many, many parts which does not function as a body without all of its parts (New International Version, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14).