Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Jayne K. Sommers

Second Advisor

Aura Whatron-Beck

Third Advisor

Gay Grymes


This study explores how five Ladina women make meaning of their lived realities of faith, oppression and service in a patriarchal evangelical culture. Ladinas, as a subset of Guatemalan women, exist within a unique intersection of privilege and oppression. Their mixed Spanish and indigenous ancestry has historically elevated them above indigenous people in the social hierarchy of Guatemala, yet their gender places them in a position of subservience, oppression and vulnerable to pervasive violence.

The five research participants were selected for meeting research criteria that recognized shared challenges and their ability to succeed and thrive as leaders in their communities. The women in this study experienced many forms of violence and discrimination, yet they all became advocates for other marginalized groups. Del Valle’s (2006) Category of Tension framework is used to understand the creative energy caused by opposing forces that lead to change. The strongest influence on the success of the women was their Christian faith, a finding that served as an underlying current in understanding the phenomenon of resiliency and its implications. The faith of participants served as a guidepost as they navigated the dissonance and tensions within their lived realities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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