The Role and Influence of First Ladies

Project Duration

2015 - 2016

Project Funder

Exxon Mobil

Lead Project Partners

George W. Bush Presidential Center

ICRW Project Director

Stella Mukasa


ICRW will conduct research, in close collaboration with the George W. Bush Institute, on the role and influence of past and current First Ladies in promoting the rights and empowerment of women and children, including the unique demographic of adolescent girls.

This research aims to identify and analyze the factors that contribute to as well as inhibit a First Lady from leveraging her platform for these issues. This includes but is not limited to documenting the opportunities, challenges, and good practices of First Ladies, and identifying the levers that a principal “can pull” to successfully champion issues that impact a nation or the world.

Approximately 15 past and current First Ladies from a diverse selection of countries will be selected to participate in in-person interviews during the course of the study. Chiefs of Staff or Senior Advisors to the selected First Ladies and experts from the public and private sectors will also be interviewed, and a few historical case studies will also be presented.

The research will review the issues that First Ladies choose to address, including women’s and children’s empowerment programs, and the ways that First Ladies have used their platforms to address these issues. The findings from the research will serve as a resource for learning, networking, and program development for the Bush Institute’s First Ladies Initiative, First Ladies and their Senior Advisors, as well as other stakeholders.