Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
College of Education, Doctoral Program
In the workplace, female leaders are understated compared to their male counterparts (Barsh, 2015). This gap is particularly pronounced in the fields of science, technology, English, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.), including information technology (IT); a field that is notorious for organizational cultures that are unwelcoming to female leaders (Sani, 2018). This gap also persists despite the benefits associated with female leaders across all industries, which include strong intercultural empathy, diversity, and diplomacy. Centered leadership, a five-prong leadership model, is particularly compatible with the fortes and limitations of women leaders (Barsh & Lavoie, 2014). This model—which involves meaning, managing energy, positive framing, connecting, and engaging—also proves useful when helping females who belong to one or more minority groups to navigate and succeed in leadership positions (Barsh & Lavoie, 2014). One of the demographics of minority females markedly underrepresented in leadership positions in the IT industry, in addition to other industries universally, is Muslim women. To date, research has explored gender disparities of women in the workforce, including studies about minority females in the workplace, focusing largely on women of African American or Latino descent, yet discussions on Muslim female leadership remains absent (Davis & Maldonado, 2015; Hayashida, 2019; Pew Research Center, 2018; Wynch, 2004). This lack of research remains, despite the growing population of female Muslin leadership entering the IT field each year. By increasing awareness of centered leadership practices, the intent is for female Muslim professionals in the IT industry to benefit from growth and presence in leadership positions. The benefit also stands for the IT industry to benefit as a whole, because of its nature as a continuously growing field, especially in the present day, and increasing awareness of centered leadership in this context can help to promote equality among leaders in the global market. Also pertinent to the discussion of Muslim female leadership in the IT industry is the role of Muslim customs and practices, as the role of religious restrictions, sexism, and discrimination, which may influence a Muslim female leader’s experience in a leadership role and, consequently, her ability to lead most efficiently. Further, it is significant to consider the role of religious customs, such as practicing hijab and refraining from consuming alcohol; the latter of which is often present at vocational-related networking functions, like conferences and trade shows. When exploring the conversation of female Muslim leadership in the IT industry, it is fundamental to consider the role of religious-related practices, and how both female Muslim leaders and their employers can facilitate a greater level of awareness and acceptance, not only for this population, but for a wider range of people, who may belong to any number of religious backgrounds or ethnicities with their own respective cultures, practices, and customs
Al Karim, Raheela, "Muslim Women and Centered Leadership Practices" (2020). College of Education Theses and Dissertations. 193.