The purpose of this research was identify the most common challenges for Saudi women leaders to obtain senior leadership positions in higher education, as well as to determine the nature of these challenges in terms of cultural nature of Saudi society, personal challenges emanating from the women themselves, and organizational challenges. A quantitative approach was used to provide a comprehensive analysis of the research problem and gather the data in this study. An online survey instrument used to capture 78 responses from faculty members who are working in the three universities in Riyadh region of Saudi Arabia. The universities are Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University, King Saud University, and Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. The findings of this study indicated that cultural and organizational challenges identified as the most important challenges facing academic women leaders. Then, challenges related to lack of empowerment identified as the second challenges, while personal challenges ranked last challenges. The study also discusses additional findings. Moreover, this study provides some recommendations for practices and further research to empower Saudi women to participate in decision-making positions in higher education.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Women educators -- Saudi Arabia -- Case studies; Women in leadership -- Saudi Arabia -- Case studies; Education, Higher -- Saudi Arabia -- Social aspects

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Stephens, Ronald;