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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the life and career paths of women higher education administrators in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, the study sought to interpret the women’s experiences and identities, through the framework of intersectionality and gender performance, as ones that contributed to advancement within contexts traditionally barred to women. This research illustrates commonalities among the participants, elucidating the faith, family, and education as common constructs in their experiences and as mechanisms that propelled career trajectories. A major finding of the research is that the participants both preformed gender and defied it through the enactment of gender norms and personal agency, creating a threshold for their professional achievement in highly gendered cultures and institutions.