Part of a two-year Learning and Evidence Project on Women’s Voice and
Leadership in Decision-Making, this rapid evidence review looks at
interventions that aim to build women and/or girls’ leadership. The
- What is the evidence of factors that enable women and girls’
- What is the evidence of whether/how women and girls are able to use
leadership positions to achieve better and/or more equitable outcomes?
Key findings include:
- Early intervention through support to girls’ leadership is essential
to foster women leaders. A supportive family environment, the presence
of role models and formal education are key.
- Girls and women’s individual and collective leadership can
progressively change discriminatory gender norms. Women leaders act as
role models and can normalise the idea and practice of women holding
power. Women acting together can shift adverse social and legal norms
in their community and polity.
- Formal institutional change, such as the introduction of quotas, often
enables women to access leadership positions. How variations in regime
type and political settlement influence women’s pathways into power is
- Autonomous women’s movements are the vanguard of gender justice.
Women’s coalitions have been key to gender equality gains, including
by producing and supporting women politicians and feminist
- More research is needed on how women reach leadership positions, and
on the factors that explain when and how women leaders of all types
are able to advance their interests and change others’ ideas and
O’Neil, T.; Plank, G.; Domingo, P. Support to women and girls’ leadership: a rapid review of the evidence. (2015) 30 pp.