Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner




gender, stereotype, women, workforce, leadership


The traditional definition of leadership emphasizes the actions of individual leaders with culturally-ascribed masculine personality traits and behaviors who control all aspects of an organization. A new post-industrial paradigm, in contrast, defines leadership as interpersonal relationships. This evolving paradigm, with its emphasis on culturally-attributed feminine traits such as collaboration and participation, has allowed for a broader conceptualization of leadership that brings forth discussions on women leaders and their experiences. According to current research, while there is increasing involvement and empowerment of women leaders, their experiences continue to be hindered by gender stereotypes. This study attempts to explore the experiences of women student leaders at a co-educational liberal arts institution and to capture the changing conceptions and expectations for these women in the 2010s. The nine women interviewed equate leadership with passion; usually self-identify themselves as campus leaders after they have been identified as such by their peers; do not experience negative gender stereotypes during their collegiate years; but do foresee facing gender stereotypes and discrimination when exercising leadership once they have left the college setting and entered the workforce. The results of this study support and enhance the post-industrial paradigm, which emphasizes leadership as collaborative rather than individualistic.