MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Carol Agoçs

Geographical Areas

Canada, Ontario, Greater Golden Horseshoe


Despite women's progress in various professional domains, a persistent gender disparity remains evident in local government's most senior non-elected leadership roles. The underrepresentation of women in municipal city management continues, even though women comprise 47.4% of the Canadian labour force (Catalyst, 2020). This research paper aims to understand the underrepresentation of women in municipal Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) roles by examining theoretical perspectives and drawing from recent qualitative research into the gender imbalance in public sector leadership by DeHart-Davis et al. (2020). This research paper aims to shed light on the need for substantive change by unravelling the complexities surrounding the pervasive underrepresentation of women in municipal CAO roles. Secondary data collected on 110 municipalities in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region is analyzed and compared with other research findings to assess the gender balance among CAOs.The research findings contribute significantly to the scholarship on gender equality in Canadian local government leadership. This research paper offers insight for students, practitioners, and municipal leaders seeking to understand and promote equality in senior administrative positions. This research aims to contribute to existing research on systemic inequality in local government and understand the importance of a more inclusive and diverse leadership landscape.