Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


The purpose of this investigation was to determine the extent to which professional women in hospital foundations perceive career barriers in their organizations-particularly whether women in mid-level management perceive greater barriers to their career advancement than do women in senior-level management. The researcher also strove to identify the barriers identified in the literature review that women felt were the most significant in their organizations.

A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 204 women in 113 hospital foundations in California. The subjects were selected from the membership directory of the Association of Philanthropy. The questionnaire was designed to collect three types of information: basic demographic data such as employment position, tenure, and marital status; respondents' perceptions of barriers in the workplace, corresponding to kinds of barriers outlined in the literature review; and additional information elicited from respondents through open-ended questions.

The study found that women in hospital foundations perceive some barriers to their career advancement. The most frequently cited barriers to women's advancement were gender bias and the work/family conflict. The study also found that women in mid-level management perceived greater barriers to their career advancement than did women in senior-level management. In particular, women in mid-level management were less satisfied with the challenges in their current position; felt that there were fewer career development opportunities in their organization and fewer career paths available for women who aspired to move into senior-level management; and felt that a lack of mentors and lack of degrees and certificates prevented them from advancing into senior-level positions.