Date of Conferral







Dr. Susana Verdinelli


Little research has been conducted to understand the experiences of the women in leadership positions in the African immigrant church in the United States. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of women in leadership positions in African immigrant churches in the United States to inform efforts toward enhancing representation of women in church leadership. The study used an interpretative phenomenological analysis research approach, guided by Bass and Riggio’s transformational leadership theory. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with 12 women in leadership positions in African immigrant churches. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data. Women leaders explained that the challenges they experience in reaching leadership positions include African values and expectations, gender-related challenges, challenges related to available resources, and doctrinal challenges. Some get support when performing leadership roles through training and mentoring. The personal factors that contribute to the success of women in their leadership role in the church include family relationships, prior experiences, determination, and motivation. The outcome of the study may serve to reduce stigma towards women in leadership position while empowering the proponents of inclusive leadership in African immigrant churches with information on policy changes and challenges that need to be addressed. The results also provide a better understanding of the challenges and the opportunities women leaders have in African immigrant churches and be used to guide debate on steps that need to be taken to encourage inclusive leadership.