Date of Conferral
Women all across the United States who work for public housing authorities greatly desire to have more career advancement opportunities. As the number of women in the workforce and moving into management positions continues to increase yearly, current cross-gender mentorship programs, even if available are often outdated and unresponsive to the demographic change. This study focused on women's careers, mentoring, and the barriers to their career progression. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore participant perceptions perception of mentoring and its effects on career advancement for women who work in public housing management to open a deeper dialogue about women and gender bias in management in traditionally male-dominated workplaces. Participants consisted of 10 senior property management managers currently employed in Florida and Georgia public housing authorities. Data collection was accomplished via an open-ended semi-structured interview protocol and recorded to ensure validity and integrity of the interview; NVivo 11 software was used to assist with the coding, categorization, and identification of recurrent patterns. In depth analysis of the coded data further revealed three essential themes of mentoring, professional leadership training programs, and access to those opportunities were critical to career progression but often unavailable or ineffective. The participants revealed that same-gender mentoring relationships were more successful than cross-gender. Participants almost unanimously agreed that mentoring and advance leadership training opportunities are critical to employee career progression for any employee, and particularly to women in male-dominated industries. Increasing the dialogue to develop more comprehensive and available cross-gender mentoring programs could be the catalyst for meeting the challenges of leading in the midst of the changing workforce.