Exploring the career barriers faced by women managers in municipal authorities in South Africa

Moeketsane, Palesa
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The aim of the study was to explore the career barriers that women in management positions within municipal authorities face, furthermore, it was to determine the nature of the barriers, that is, whether they are environmental or intrapersonal. The study recruited ten women in different levels of management within a municipality in Gauteng. Career barriers have been extensively studied, with particular emphasis on the impact these barriers have on the development of the careers of women. Research studies have mostly centred on barriers within business or advancements in politics; however, there has not been a wealth of research on the barriers faced by women in local authorities. As such, the purpose of the current study was to explore the different types of barriers that are unique to women working in the administrative division of a political environment. Furthermore, the study sought to explore the nature of the barriers that would be most detrimental to the career development of women in that environment. To that extent, the barriers explored were categorised as either environmental or intrapersonal. Given that the current study was conducted on women in management positions working at a municipal authority, it thus added the concept of political interference, which has seldom been added to studies on women in management. The research was qualitative in nature, with the data being collected through interviews. Content Thematic Analysis was used as the method through which meaning was extracted from the interviews. The results suggested that both categories of barriers existed within that environment. However, it was also suggested that the barriers that were intrapersonal had a more adverse effect on the career development of women managers. This research will be of significant benefit to not only women who are currently in management positions but to those who aspire to be in those positions in the future.