Exploring Under-Representation of Women in Top Executive Positions in The United States' Banking Industry: A Phenomenological Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Kim Campbell

Committee Member

Lewis Chongwony

Committee Member

Sherry Abernathy


The under-representation of women in top executive positions has tremendously gained attention in the corporate world, among researchers, and policymakers, which led this researcher to investigate this topic. Despite the legislation on equal employment opportunities, and the government provided solutions to eradicate discriminatory practices and inequality in the workplace, 11% of women functioned in managerial to chief executive positions in the United States banking industry (Catalyst, 2020). These numbers make experienced and qualified women feel undervalued and reduce the zeal and desire of younger women to aspire to get into top executive positions in the future. The study synthesized existing literature to have a better understanding of the research problem and applied a qualitative phenomenological approach to collect data from 18 bank executives. Data was collected through unstructured, open-ended interview questions, and analyzed to generate 15 significant themes. The findings disclosed that women are desirous of advancing their careers into top executive positions, but the continuous male dominance in top executive positions might be the likely reason for the low representation of women in top executive positions in the U.S. banking sector. The findings also suggested strategies for women to overcome challenges in the U.S. banks and provided opportunities for them to progress their careers into top executive roles.