• Shahla Tabassum Department of Gender Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi Pakistan
  • Uzaira Rafiq Faculty of Science and Technology




The purpose of the study is to find out the challenges women experienced in reaching leadership positions. At the global level, according to the Global Gender Gap Report (2022), 33% of women hold leadership roles; however, in Pakistan, this number is lower. Eagly and Carli’s (2003) theoretical framework emphasized the multifactorial barriers that women face in achieving leadership positions. A qualitative approach was used to get an in-depth understanding of the problem. Using the non-probability purposive sampling technique ten female heads of departments from the different public sector universities of Rawalpindi were selected who were willing to participate in the study voluntarily. With mutual consent, in-depth interviews were conducted. The findings reveal multiple barriers that affect women’s ability to advance in leadership positions on three different levels: barriers at work, barriers in the home, and barriers at the individual level. The findings at work-level challenges include dealing with gender stereotypes, problems with leadership styles, and a lack of social networking. The findings at family-level barriers include work-family imbalance, different types of early socialization, and a choice between family and career. The findings at individual-level obstacles include issues with the physical appearance for upward mobility, Barriers for family oriented female leaders and grateful attitudes of female leaders. Based on the findings, the study suggests multifaceted approaches to deal with this issue at every level.

Keywords: Career, Challenges, Leadership, Obstacles, Stereotypes, Women


Author Biographies

Shahla Tabassum , Department of Gender Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi Pakistan


Uzaira Rafiq, Faculty of Science and Technology


Additional Files