Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tracey Phillips


Wage inequality and gender-based career advancement barriers have plagued immigrant women in the United States since world war II. The Equal Pay Act was enacted to address wage inequalities but did little to fix the concerns of the wage gap and promotional barriers for women in the United States. This generic qualitative study addressed a research gap about perceptions of influence of the wage gap on immigrant women’s career aspirations to address the documented problem of income disparity. The theoretical framework guiding the study consisted of feminist and conflict theories . The main research question concerns immigrant Ghanaian women’s perceptions of the wage gap and how these attitudes influence their career aspirations. Purposive and snowball sampling strategies were used to interview 10 participants from Hartford County, Connecticut. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions. Data were coded to identify themes. The results showed that participants’ accent resulted in wage and opportunity gap, participants’ lack of self-promotion resulted in stagnant wages with less motivation for career advancement, the higher concentration of male workers at participants’ work place reduced opportunities for promotion, and hiring managers biased promotional decisions narrowed participants earnings and dampened their motivation for career growth. By increasing knowledge of wage inequity and upward mobility barriers among immigrant women, the study’s findings may help human services, social work, and pay equity advocates make decisions on designing future policies and models of support that will enhance immigrant women’s career goals and bridge the wage gap.