Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Colette M Taylor

Second Advisor

Trenia L Walker

Third Advisor

Viviane S Lopuch and Shauna E Carlisle


This study explored the experiences of Iranian immigrant women leaders in the government sector in the Pacific Northwest. The focus of the study was to understand how their experiences of inequitable opportunities in the workplace prohibited them from attaining and advancing executive leadership roles. A qualitative autoethnography approach was used to explore how the researcher’s lived experiences denoted the career pathway trajectory for Iranian immigrant women in the government sector to capture the essence of their experiences navigating inequities along the leadership pipeline. To examine their experiences, multiracial feminism theory and representative bureaucracy theory provided a multifaceted viewpoint of Iranian immigrant women in the context of their identities concerning their leadership roles. A conceptual framework also guided this study through the lens of the “emotional tax” phenomenon on women of color in the workplace as they identified inequities in the organizations in which they worked. Finally, this study drew exclusively from the researcher’s experience, who served in a leadership position in the government sector. Through the development of supporting concepts and subthemes, four major themes emerged, including (a) Cultural Influence, (b) Powerless, (c) Empowered, and (d) Servant Leadership. These themes explained the process of leader emergence within the Iranian immigrant women community.