Document Type



The article examines the major influences of the black Zimbabwean boundless- extended family system on the professional trajectories of women leaders working within the higher education system of Zimbabwe. The study is based on in-depth interviews conducted with thirty female leaders who shared information about their major family responsibilities. Using an analytical framework that facilitates a critical analysis of the evidence, the paper discusses the persisting significance of the interdependent systems of social stratification, namely race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and class in the private and public spheres of the female leaders. In an effort to preserve the nuances, essence, and voices, as well as to give them the prominence they deserve, the paper includes excerpts from the participants' responses. The paper suggests private and micro (familial and cultural) and public and macro (institutional and systemic) ways of alleviating some of the major challenges that the boundless- extended family system places on the professional advancement of women leaders..