Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, 2020

doi: 10.32873/unl.dc.jwel.197

ISSN 2379-2191


Copyright (c) 2020 Jody L. Reding.


With each passing decade, women make significant strides in their educational attainment, better positioning themselves for leadership roles. Despite decades of research assessing the leadership styles of women, the established picture of women and leadership is mixed. On one hand, women are praised for possessing many of the leadership skills, behaviors and attributes associated with effective leadership. Yet, on the other hand, women tend to deny support to one another. Twenty women with various years and levels of leadership experience in higher education were interviewed to explore how they describe their experiences leading women and being led by women. Initially I planned to utilize Eagly and Carli’s (2007) labyrinth of leadership as the theoretical framework. However, analysis and interpretation of the data was more precisely aligned with Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) paradigm: the leadership challenge. Results of the study revealed women who successfully lead other women, influence those they lead through a willingness to strengthen and challenge, pull them forward, and continuously improve.