Gender Disparity in Leadership: A Case Study of Belize Banks

Gender Disparity in Leadership: A Case Study of Belize Banks

Author: 
Philippa Sherlett Duncan
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
Women were twice likely to earn degrees than men and constituted more than half of the relatively small pool of professional workers suitable for banks; nevertheless, men significantly outnumbered women at the highest echelon of Belize’s banking sector. An exploratory case study incorporating semi-structured interviews with senior leaders, 15 males and two females, from nine of 10 banks was conducted to gain insights into the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in Belize banks. Content analysis was applied to the perceptions shared by participants. Interview data was triangulated with data from relevant documents and banks’ succession plans to exhibit consistency in the results. An informal boys clubs, the role of females at home, and traditional practices in Belize emerged as core reasons why there were so few women in leadership positions in Belize banks; however, distinct differences in the perceptions of males and females surfaced. This was the first of such study on Belize banks; it raised awareness and could influence more deliberate decision-making on achieving gender equity in the sector’s leadership. Participants indicated more women can advance to the highest echelon of banks because females were well positioned to capitalize on the opportunity, when arises. However, participants could not perceive such transformation occurring in the next decade. Male leaders believed elements influencing the underrepresentation of women were too ingrained in Belize’s banking sector and wider society, while female leaders determined a decade was too short for the men to embrace such change.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my two lovely daughters, Khadija and Kamryn. Thanks for understanding when I could not give you my undivided attention. I hope you view my accomplishment not so much for attaining a higher level of academic learning, but largely for the commitment and sacrifice I made to realize this dream. The road ahead is paved with uncertainties and challenges for everyone, albeit differently. It is my prayer that you experience a smooth walk because you can appreciate the little you have and rejoice over your small achievements. Never give up! Pause, regain your composure, change direction if necessary, and then move on! May God’s Blessings bestowed upon you!
Acknowledgements: 
I want to acknowledge everyone who encouraged and assisted me during this journey; your contribution must be recognized. Regretfully, I cannot single out each of you here, but such is no indication that your inspiring words or helpful thoughts were not instrumental in my success. I am so very much appreciative of the role you played. Dr. McGunagle, my chair, and Dr. Devnew and Dr. Robertson, my committee, I say with no reservation that this dissertation could not have been completed without your guidance, experience, and unwavering support. Senior leaders of Belize’s banking sector, I know my research interviews disrupted your hectic schedule, but you so kindly consented to participate. Thank you! Dr. Crews, Dr. Traynor, Dr. Graham, and Dr. Heuss, facilitators of my residency classes, your painstaking efforts to address questions and calm apprehensions created a more relaxed study environment. My cohort, new friendships were formed; thanks for listening and networking. All the best in your endeavors. Thank you! Dr. Gavin, my professor in multiple research courses, you entertained me even outside of the formal classroom and imparted your knowledge on research methods and designs without hesitation. Chineme, my academic counsellor, and Michael, my financial advisor, you managed the administrative details and allowed me to focus on the academics. Sara, my independent editor, you attended to the details. Thank you! Faculty and administration of the University of Phoenix, I applaud you for designing and delivering a comprehensive doctoral program to bridge scholar and practice. I feel honored in saying “I am a Phoenix!”