Vol. 4 No. 14 (2018): Journal of Leadership and Management

Black Female Leaders in North Carolina Government Where Are They?

Larrisha McGill-Youngblood
Dr. Larrisha McGill-Youngblood, DM, MBA, BS Program Director: Executive Master of Public Administration at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina, USA e-mail: lmcgilly@nccu.edu; larrishayoungblood@gmail.com
Published December 28, 2018
How to Cite
McGill-Youngblood, L. (2018). Black Female Leaders in North Carolina Government Where Are They?. Journal of Leadership and Management, 4(14). Retrieved from http://leadership.net.pl/JLM/article/view/142


Limited research exists regarding the experiences of African American women who have obtained a leadership role in North Carolina go- vernment. The experiences of black women continue to perpetuate the “glass ceiling” and make it difficult for women to break through this barrier to obtain leadership positions. The purpose of this paper is to examine a qualitative research study that identified eight themes of African American female directors in North Carolina government based on their lived experiences to becoming leaders in North Carolina government. This paper may reveal valuable information for African American women who aspire to be in a leadership position in North Carolina government. Leaders may benefit from the concepts presented in this paper to promote gender and race diversity within North Carolina governmental agencies.

Keywords: African American, black women, minorities, glass ceiling, North Carolina government, leadership


  1. Beckwith, A. L., D. R. Carter, and T. Peters. (2016). “The Underrep- resentation of African American Women in Executive Leadership: What’s Getting in the Way?” Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 7(4), pp. 1–20.
  2. Bell, K. (2018). “Critical Race Theory.” Feminist Media Histories, 4(2), pp. 57–60.
  3. Bendl, R., and A. Schmidt. (2010). “From ‘Glass Ceillings’ to ‘Fire- walls’ Different Metaphors for Describing Discrimination.” Gender, Work, and Organization, 17(5), pp. 1–24.
  4. Bernier, L., and T. Rocco. (2003). “Critical Race Theory and HRD Moving Race Front and Center.” Advances in Developing Human Re- sources, 16(4), pp. 457–470.
  5. Bloom, C. M., and D. A. Erlandson. (2003). “African American Wom- en Principles in Urban Schools: Realities, (Re)constructions and res- olutions.” Education Administration Quarterly, 39, pp. 339–369.
  6. Bova, B. (2000). “Mentoring Revisited: The Black Women’s Experi- ence.” Mentoring and Tutoring, 8, pp. 5–16.
  7. Byrd, M. (2009). “Theorizing African Americans Women’s Leader- ship Experiences: Sociocultural Theoretical Alternatives.” Academy of Women in Leadership, 29, pp. 1–19.
  8. Carnes, W., and N. Radojevich-Kelley. (2011). “The Effects of the Glass Ceiling on Women in the Workforce: Where Are They and Where Are They Going?” Review of Management, 4(10), pp. 70–79.
  9. Catalyst. (2011a). Explore the 50 Years of Catalyst. Retrieved from: http://catalyst.org/page/333/timeline-50-years-of-catalyst.
  10. Catalyst. (2011b). Statistical Overview of Women in the Workplace. Retrieved from: http:www.catalyst.org/publication/219/statisti- cal-overview-of-women-in-the-workplace.
  11. Catalyst. (2014). 2014 Catalyst Census. Retrieved from: http://www. catalyst.org/knowledge/2014-catalyst-census-women-board-direc- tors.
  12. Cheung, F. M., and D. F. Halpern. (2010). “Women at the Top: Pow- erful Leaders Define Success at Work + Family in a Culture of Gen- der.” American Psychologist, 65(3), pp. 182–193.
  13. Chin, J. L., B. Lott, J. K. Rice, and J. Sanchez-Hucles. (2007). Wom- en in Leadership: Transofrming Visions and Diverse Voices. Malden: Blackwell.
  14. Dodson, A. (2012). “Exposing Triple Myths.” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 28(15), pp. 14–15.
  15. Eagly, A. H. (2007). “Female Leadership Advantage and Disadvan- tage: Resolving the Contradiction.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 1–12.
  16. though the experiences of each participant were different, common themes emerged as a result of their experiences and the women acknowledged the challenges and barri- ers they had to face and overcome in their ascension into a leadership position as directors.
  17. Regardless of the barriers the women in this study overcame and the preparation it took for them to obtain a leadership position; the fact remains that there is an un- derrepresentation of black females in leadership positions within North Carolina government. The results from this study can assist women, specifically, women of color by providing a foundation for women to build the confidence, skills, and information needed for black women to be first in command.
  18. Eagly, A., and L. L. Carli. (2007). Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  19. Eagly, A., and J. L. Chin. (2010). “Diversity and Leadership in a Changing World.” American Psychologist, 65, pp. 216–224.
  20. EEOC. (2009). United States Government Manual. 372.
  21. EEOC. (2013). Job Patterns for Minorities and Women in State and Local Government (EEO-4). Retrieved from: www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/ statistics/employment/jobpat-eeo4/2013/table 2/table 2_2_profes- sionals_.html.
  22. Fremion, B. B., K. E. O’Brien, and A. Ford. (2018). Shards of the Glass Ceiling and Glass Cliff: How Individual Discrimination Still Exists in the Face of Legal Sanction, in: J. Nadeer, and M. Lowery, (eds.). (2018). The War on Women in the United States: Beliefts, Tactics, and the Best Defenses. Santa Barbara: Praeger.
  23. French, J. R. P. Jr. and B. Raven. (1959). The Bases of Social Power, in: D. Cartwright, (ed.). (1959). Studies in Social Power. Oxford: Univer- sity Michigan, pp. 150–167.
  24. Gerber, R. (2002). Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way. New York: Prentice Hall.
  25. Glass Ceiling Commission. (2003). About the Commission. Retrieved from: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/e_archive/gov_reports/ glassceiling/default.html
  26. Hayes, S. F. (2012). “The Black Woman’s Burden.” Issues in Higher Education, 12, pp. 18–19.
  27. Henry-Brown, R., and N. Campell-Lewis. (2004). “Examining Barri- ers to Career Advancement Among Femails of Color in the Federal Career Service.” Race, Gender, and Class, 12(3/4), pp. 31–47.
  28. Hester, R. (2011). The Glass Ceiling and Its Effects on Women and Minorities. Retrieved from: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-glass-ciel- ing-its-effect-women-minorities.
  29. Hoyt, C., and S. Murphy. (2015). “Managing to Clear the Air: Stereo- type, Threat, and Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly, 27(3), pp. 387–399.
  30. Kalish, B. (1992). “The Glass Ceiling: Encompasses Various Informal Difficult to Document Barriers to the Development of Women and Minorites into Upper Management.” Management Review, 81(3), p. 64.
  31. Kandalec, P., and R. Robertson. (2010). “Perspectives on Women in Leadership.” Future Edition, (4), pp. 42–59.
  32. Keen, J., and J. Quandagno. (2004). “Predictors of Percieved Work-Family Balance: Gender Difference or Gender Similarity.” So- cial Perspectives, 47(1), pp. 1–23.
  33. Koeing, A., A. Mitchell, A. Eagly, and T. Ristikari. (2011). “Are Lead- er Sterotypes Masculine? A Meta-Analysis of Three Research Par- digms.” Pychological Bullentin, 137(4), pp. 616–642.
  34. Livingston, R. (2013). “Gender, Race, and Leadership: An Exam- ination of the Challenges Facing Non-Protypical Leaders.” Research Symposium Gender & Work Challenging Coventional Wisdom.
  35. Maniam, B., K. Russell, and G. Subramaniam. (2010). “Gender In- equality at the Workplace: Time for a Paradm Shift!” International Journal of Business Research, 10(3), pp. 161–166.
  36. Mathur, S., and N. K. Chadha. (2010). “The Glass Ceiling: Explor- ing the Skewed Dynamics of Myths, Realities and Changing Land- scapes.” Learning Community, 1(2), pp. 167–172.
  37. Mueller, C., M. Mulinge, and J. Glass. (2002). “Interactional Process- es and Gender Workplace Inequalities.” Social Psychology Quarterly, 65(2), pp. 163–185.
  38. Pew Resarch Center Social & Demographic Trends. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14chapter-1-wom- en-in-leadership.
  39. Parker, P. S. (2005). Race, Gender, and Leadership: Pre-Envisioning Organization Leadership From the Perspective of African American Women Executives. Mahwan: Lawrence Eribaum.
  40. Rennison, B. (2014). “Cracking the Gender Codes Discourses on Women in Leadership and Management.” Journal of Leadership and Management, 1(1), pp. 41–53.
  41. Rhode, D. L., and B. Kellerman. (2007). Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies For Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  42. Roberts, P., and M. Traynor. (2006). “Reliability and Validity in Re- search.” Nursing Standard, 20(44), pp. 41–45.
  43. Russell, C. (1995). “Glass Ceiling Can Break.” American Demograph-
  44. Sanchez-Hucles, J. V., and D. Davis. (2010). “Women and Women of Color in Leadership: Complexity, Identity, and Intersectionality.” American Psychologist, 65(3), pp. 171–181.
  45. Simmons, L. (2009). A Qualitative Case Study on the Glass Ceiling and African-American Women in Banking. Retrieved from: http://search. proquest.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/docview/305127005?ac- countid=35812.
  46. Stanley, C. A. (2009). “Giving Voice from the Perspective of Afri- can American Women Leaders.” Advances in Developing Human Re- sources, 11(5), pp. 551–561.
  47. Steele, J. (2011). Unwritten Rules Impact Retention for Women of Col- or. Retrieved from: http://www.nbmbaaconference2011.org.
  48. Turner, C. S., J. C. Gonzalez, and K. Wong. (2011). “Faculty Women of Color: The Critical Nexus of Race and Gender.” Journal of Diversi- ty in Higher Education, 4(4), pp. 199–211.
  49. U.S. Department of Labor. (2018). Our History: An Overview 1920- 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.dol.gov/wb/infor_about_wb/in- terwb.htm.
  50. U.S. Department of Labor. (2010). Women in the Labor Force in 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.dol/gov/wb/factsheets/qf-labor- force-10.htm.
  51. Wooten, L. P. (2008). “Guest Editors Note: Breaking Barriers in Organizations for the Purpose of Inclusiveness.” Human Resources Management, 47(2), pp. 197–197.