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Women Leadership Study Reveals Gender Stereotypes Persist and Impede Women's New York City Local Government Career Paths

Study supports past research and adds new understanding of challenges women face in executive and management positions in government agencies

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, U.S., June 1, 2022 / -- A first-of-its-kind newly published dissertation research study examines persistent career and leadership challenges women face in the public sector in New York City (NYC). Carlos Manzano, a doctoral graduate of Florida Atlantic University School of Public Administration, conducted the dissertation study now accessible on ProQuest at

Qualitative interpretative research and interviews with women leaders who worked and are still working in NYC local government reveal a deeper and nuanced understanding of women’s lived experiences and how they deal with leadership challenges, organizational factors, and gender stereotypes. While NYC mayors and other NYC leaders have for years addressed career disparities and inequities affecting women, research conducted among NYC government employees found key factors that still create career impediments for women, including male and female gender assumptions, microaggressions, family responsibilities, pay equity, and leadership style.

The study’s key takeaways and recommendations are:

• Create a greater critical mass of women in public sector management and executive positions.
• Continue to develop policies that positively affect career women: family, work-life balance, virtual/hybrid work, caregiving, and other issues women face in the post COVID-19 era.
• Offer diversity, equity, inclusion, and leadership training to help all employees recognize and to understand socialized predispositions and biases.
• Develop cultural competencies to allow for greater interaction and understanding of different races and ethnic groups among all employees.
• Explore new ways to avoid gender segregation of city agencies to lessen gender stereotypes and leadership obstacles and to create more NYC public sector career opportunities overall.
• Serve as an example for future research of these issues in NYC agencies and businesses or in other U.S. municipalities.

The research findings indicate public service organizations must address multiple layers of traditionally socialized gender perceptions—men’s and women’s roles. To lessen the negative impact women leaders continue to experience in leadership roles, organizations must examine and reshape internal management and career structures, language, images, behaviors, and hierarchy. This process requires leaders of both genders to question assumptions and to identify and acknowledge conscious and subconscious ingrained perceptions and potential biases.

For example, it took decades for sexual harassment behaviors to be recognized and lessened from public service organizations’ cultures and from business in general, but that topic now is top of mind. Issues related to microaggressions, family, and other work-life challenges discussed in the research findings also now must be addressed through training and other strategies to lessen their adverse effects in the workplace. These steps will help ensure women’s career and leadership opportunities and lead to more productive work environments for everyone.

About Carlos Manzano, Ph.D.

Carlos Manzano is a strategic communicator with experience in the public sector, academia, and consulting. His career began in the private sector at Bear Stearns & Co. and later at Commerzbank on Wall Street. He veered his career toward NYC local government where he worked at various agencies, including the Office of the Mayor. He held positions as Director of Partnerships at the NYC Department of Information Technology, Executive Director of Mayor Bloomberg’s Latin Media and Entertainment Commission (LMEC) at the Office of the Mayor, and Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. He also worked at the NYC Board of Elections and the NYC Department of Education.

Manzano served 14 years on the New York State Democratic Committee representing the 75th Assembly District covering Manhattan’s Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. In 1999, he ran for the NYC Council and in 2005 for Manhattan Borough President.

He has taught graduate courses at Columbia University in the M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management program and at New York University in the M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program. He also teaches an undergraduate course at LIM College.

Manzano holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, an M.P.A. in Public Administration, and an M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication, both from New York University. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Queens College, CUNY.

Carlos Manzano, Ph.D.
Dr. Carlos Manzano
+1 917-751-0186
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