Rise of Women’s Leadership in International Development

Article Date

14 December 2009

Article Author

By Roxanne Stachowski

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

In a newly published article, a team of ICRW experts examine the leadership roles women occupy in the household and public sphere as well as in formal and informal economies. Published by the SAIS Review of International Affairs, the piece aims to fill a gap in information about the ways in which women serve as leaders and how their leadership can improve lives in developing countries.

ICRW found that as wives and mothers, community and labor organizers, political advocates and entrepreneurs, women are exerting control over resources, relationships and the actions of others. Case studies reviewed in the article indicate that these increases in women’s leadership improve child development, spur political change and encourage economic growth.

ICRW’s findings come at a significant time, as policymakers and programmers deepen their focus on increasing women’s leadership capabilities in an effort to amplify the impact of development activities. But while evidence of the effectiveness of women’s leadership is growing, more data is needed to learn how to sustain their leadership over time as well as determine how they impact their communities. ICRW experts say that part of acquiring that information will require new approaches that incorporate women’s unique leadership style.

ICRW experts Kirrin Gill, Ann Warner, Ellen Weiss and Geeta Rao Gupta authored “From Beneficiaries to Change Agents: The Rise of Women’s Leadership in International Development” in the SAIS Review of International Affairs vol. XXIX no. 2.

Read the article. (Log-in required)

Roxanne Stachowski is ICRW’s external relations associate.