Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Ron Riggio

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© 2023 Nishka H Khoobchandani


Women in the workplace are told to lean into their strengths and self-advocate in order to get promoted but this does not take into account the systemic barriers that prevent them from wanting to in the first place. Compared to women of other ethnicities, Asian American women have the lowest ratio of representation at the executive versus non-executive level. Yet, there is a lack of research on how two marginalized identities – as a woman and as an Asian American individual – synergistically interact and explain the intersectional discrimination only experienced by Asian American women, potentially interacting with cultural variables such as power distance orientation to impact how much Asian American women lean in. In Study 1, measures of intersectional discrimination and reluctance to lean in were created and validated, with 62 participants from a liberal arts college consortium filling out a survey to assess convergent and discriminant validity. In Study 2, participants were 369 Asian American and White American men and women recruited via Prolific. They filled out survey measures to understand their personal feelings of intersectional discrimination, power distance, and leaning in. Contrary to hypotheses, power distance orientation was not a moderator of the relationship between intersectional discrimination and reluctance to lean in. Additionally, intersectional discrimination was a significant predictor of one’s reluctance to lean in not just for Asian American women, but for all four ethnic-groups. Implications regarding how organizations may conceptualize the leaning in model not just from an individual level but from a systemic or institutional one are discussed