Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

J. Scott Self

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Irma Harper

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Andrew Lumpe


There is little research about the gender-related barriers female military officers face when working to advance in the ranks even though there continues to be research about gender bias and discrimination when pursuing leadership and management positions. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the experiences of veteran female officers who advanced in rank in the U.S. military. Secondarily, the purpose was to: (a) determine if women experienced role congruity barriers, while advancing in rank and (b) determine if women experienced role congruity when they attempted to advance in rank to elite-level leadership positions. In this study, the viewpoint of veteran female officers, who served during the period 2010–2020, were examined. In addition, the perspectives of female officers who are still serving were assessed with the purpose of comparing their gender-related military leadership experiences to those of veteran female officers. Data collection comprised of semistructured individual interviews, focus group interviews, and artifacts. Eighteen participants were purposively selected for semistructured individual interviews and four–eight participants for each set of six semistructured focus group interviews, based upon specific criteria such as having a direct commission or a commission through a Reserve Officer Training Corps program, an Officer Candidate School, or one of the U.S. military service academies. The insights from female military leaders provide information not found in previous research. Keywords: military, officer, veteran, women, role congruity, theory, elite, leadership

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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