Date of Graduation

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


School of Management


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First Advisor

Marco Tavanti, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Waters, Ph.D.


The gender leadership gap has maintained its divide throughout world history. There have been positive advancements in gender leadership equity within the political arena and in the for-profit sector, however, it is within the nonprofit sector that the most progress has been made in collapsing the gender leadership gap. Women make up a large percentage of the nonprofit sector’s workforce, so it would seem that the nonprofit sector is poised to lead the economic world to close the gender leadership gap and achieve equity within its top managerial ranks. Research on leadership theories relating to skills, traits, and styles will demonstrate how women and men differ in action and how these perceived differences can affect women in attaining top management positions. This project proposes that the nonprofit sector can be the influencing force to uplift women into positions of power, including C-suite, executive director, and general manager positions. Data-driven systemic and inclusive solutions can be formulated to support nonprofit organizations to take innovative steps to lean in and close the gender leadership gap. This research will ascertain existing barriers preventing women from rising to high level leadership positions, specifically in the nonprofit sector. By synthesizing secondary data obtained through meta-analysis, primary data analysis, and expert interviews, the goal is to produce a systemic and inclusive change model that nonprofit agencies can implement to diminish the inherent social biases fueling the gender leadership gap. This study can be the foundation for deeper research and discourse to transform cultural mindsets at organizational and societal levels beginning with the nonprofit sector.