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Is the glass ceiling kept in place in Sudan? Gendered dilemma of the work‐life balance

Samia Kargwell (Eshal European University Brussels, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 9 May 2008




This paper has two‐fold objectives: first, it presents female managers' experience with family‐work dilemma. Second, it examines the priorities married female managers assign to the commitments of their dual roles and the support they received from their organizations.


This study was based on a case study, using a qualitative approach and triangulation of methods. These include: interviews, observations, analysis of texts and documents and autobiography. In‐depth interviews were carried out with 26 male managers in senior posts and 22 female managers in senior and middle management levels in two Federal Ministries (Health and Education) located in Khartoum (the capital city of Sudan). The narrative style (story‐telling) was used to analyze the interview data.


Results indicates that female managers interviewed give first priority to their families and secondary importance to their job. Married women managers who have children sought the assistance of others, (their extended families, servants, nannies and cooks). The priority married women managers give to their families play a negative role in their career progression and contributes to their under‐representation at top management level.


The study highlights the effect of the family‐work dilemma on the formation of the glass ceiling women managers are confronting in public organizations in Sudan.



Kargwell, S. (2008), "Is the glass ceiling kept in place in Sudan? Gendered dilemma of the work‐life balance", Gender in Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 209-224.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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