Feminist Leadership: Eight Weeks of Exploration

As we saw at the Generation Equality Forum, the concept of Feminist Leadership is gaining traction. So what exactly does it entail, and what can it mean in your life and work?

Join us for this free, eight-week webinar series (23 September to 11 November 2021) where you will:

  • Meet peers embarking on their Feminist Leadership journey
  • Be inspired by Feminist Leaders in our sector
  • Discover what Feminist Leadership can look like in practice from a range of perspectives

Sessions and hosts include Collective Leadership (Srilatha Batliwala and Elena Ghizzo), Process Design (Xenia Kellner) and Sisterhood (Françoise Moudouthe). See the full program and register below!

Missed a webinar?

Click the button below to access recordings of the hosts’ presentations and other materials, which we will be uploading on a rolling basis.

Program and registration

Click on the titles below to learn more about each session and sign up. The series takes place every Thursday at 15:00 CEST from 23 September – 11 November, and each session lasts 1.5 – 2 hours.

Please note that active participation is encouraged, and most sessions are limited to 100 participants on a first come, first serve basis.

To learn more about the hosts, find their bios at the bottom of this page.

Collective Leadership

Thursday 23 September, 15:00-17:00 CET | Registration closed

*Please note: we are overwhelmed by the amount of interest. To allow meaningful participation and engagement, capacity is limited to 150 people on a first come, first serve basis*

In this session, Srilatha Batliwala (CREA/Gender at Work) and Elena Ghizzo (Feminist Hiking Collective) seek to challenge the predominantly individualistic leadership paradigm, the narratives that reinforce this even within feminist organizations and movements. Together, you will explore the challenges and complexities of collective leadership, as well as its strengths and joys, and hear lessons and insights gained from its practice. Srilatha and Elena will make the link between feminism and collective leadership both conceptually and with concrete examples, drawing on their own experiences and the stories gathered through their “From Me to We” initiative. In doing so, they will make a case for why Feminist Leadership is, in essence, a collective process of shared power, voice, responsibility and accountability.

Feminist Leadership & Authenticity

Thursday 30 September, 15:00 CET | Registration closed

*Please note: capacity is limited to 500 participants on a first come, first serve basis*

Feminist Leadership is a concept with no roadmap, no one-size-fits-all manual. So how do you stay true to yourself in uncharted territory? And how do you figure out what being true to yourself means in the first place? In this session, CIVICUS General Secretary Lysa John and Impact & Accountability Officer Faith Pienaar will facilitate a discussion about developing an approach to Feminist Leadership that is true to your values and strengths. We’ll also discuss our fears, triggers and baggage when it comes to being a leader, and how these can be used as catalysts for (collective) growth and learning.

Feminist Leadership & Accountability

Thursday 7 October, 15:00 CET | Sign up here

*Please note: to allow meaningful participation and engagement, capacity is limited to 100 people on a first come, first serve basis*

From reckonings like #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter, there have been many fierce debates about what taking accountability for one’s actions (individually or collectively) looks like. So what does a feminist approach to accountability look and feel like? And how can we embed accountability in our everyday practice as leaders? In this session, We Are Feminist Leaders co-founder Leila Billing will unpack these questions as a starting point for participants to build their own definition and practice of accountability.

Feminist Leadership in Institutions

Thursday 14 October, 15:00 CET | Sign up here

Feminist Leadership is a powerful tool to transform ourselves and the organisations we lead, build in and contribute to. Today’s institutions tend to reflect a patriarchal model, and the feminist approach is often met with resistance. This session will focus on how we can best convince institutions to do things differently and innovatively (in line with the pressing needs of our time) and find ways to effectively implement change. International strategist and public policy professional Verlaine Diane-Soobroydoo (UN Women/Zahara’s Dream, Inc.) will lead the discussion on the possibilities and limitations of bringing feminist principles to these spaces.

Feminist Leadership & Discomfort

Thursday 21 October, 15:00 CET | Sign up here

This session on how we can embrace discomfort (and why we should) will be led by three members of the FAIR SHARE Action Circle: Serap Altinisk (Head of the EU Office and EU Representative of Plan International), Anusha Bharadwaj (Executive Director of Voice4Girls) and Emily Bove (Executive Director of the Batonga Foundation). The Action Circle is a group of six intersectional feminist leaders from around the world who guide our work on Feminist Leadership. More details to follow!

Feminist Leadership & Process Design

Thursday 28 October, 15:00 CET | Sign up here

Creating a more feminist world isn’t only about where you want to go – it’s also about how you get there. To create feminist programs and interventions with the impact we want to see, we need to start from feminist spaces and processes. In this session, Young Feminist Europe. co-founder Xenia Kellner will introduce various methodologies for designing processes that incorporate principles of participation, sharing power and inclusion.


Feminist Leadership & Power

Thursday 4 November, 15:00-17:30 CET | Registration closed

*Please note: we are overwhelmed by the amount of interest. To allow meaningful participation and engagement, capacity is limited to 50 people on a first come, first serve basis. Please also note this session will last approximately 2.5 hours.*

What does it mean to be a ‘powerful’ leader? While many may first think of having power or influence over others, Feminist Leadership proposes something different: that powerful leaders acknowledge their power, recognise the responsibility it comes with, and use it to facilitate collaboration and collectively shaping our world with others. In this session led by Mariama Deschamps (Plan International), you will explore where you get your individual power from, what may be blocking you from accessing it, and how you can use it productively and positively in your everyday life and leadership style.

Feminist Leadership & Sisterhood

Thursday 11 November, 15:00 CET | Registration closed

*We are overwhelmed by the amount of interest. Please note that in order to allow meaningful participation and engagement, capacity is limited to 100 people on a first come, first serve basis*

Defined as “political solidarity between women” (bell hooks), sisterhood is at the core of feminist action and movement-building, yet it is often seen as an unintentional benefit of feminists sharing common spaces. What is the role of feminist leaders in ensuring our organisations and initiatives center sisterhood as a necessity, not a serendipity? And what role does sisterhood play in our own feminist leadership journey and practice? Hosted by Françoise Moudouthe (CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund and founder of Eyala), this session will unpack how the personal and the political aspects of sisterhood play out in the lives and work of feminist leaders.


Meet the hosts

Serap Altinisik

Serap Altinisik, a passionate intersectional-feminist activist, is currently the Head of Office and EU Representative of Plan International. She has previously held the position of Programme Director at the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) leading their Fundraising & Programme Strategy, and led the Campaign Unit at the European Network against Racism (ENAR). She is also a Board member of CIVICUS Alliance and a published author and scholar focused on domestic violence.

Srilatha Batliwala

Srilatha Batliwala is a feminist activist, researcher, scholar and trainer whose four and a half decades of work has spanned grassroots movement-building with marginalised urban and rural women, research and scholarly work, policy advocacy, grant-making, and capacity building of young women activists around the world. She currently serves as Senior Advisor, Knowledge Building at CREA; Senior Associate at Gender at Work; and Honorary Professor of Practice at SOAS, University of London.

Anusha Bharadwaj

Anusha Bharadwaj is a member of the FAIR SHARE Action Circle and Executive Director of Voice 4 Girls, a social enterprise that educates and empowers marginalised adolescent girls with the vision to eliminate gender inequality and violence. She is also the Founder Director of SoCh for Social Change, a platform that offers young women a chance to become ‘future-ready’ and to develop their leadership capacities.

Emily Bove

Emily Bove is a seasoned executive leader within the global women’s rights movement and development community. She has been recognised for her constant support of grassroots-led and feminist programming, as well as her strong experience in movement-building, collaborative leadership and philanthropy. She is the Executive Director of the Batonga Foundation as well as the founder and curator of the Feminist Leadership Project. She is also a proud Board member of Women’s March Global, and serves on World Pulse’s Global Advisory Network.

Leila Billing

Leila Billing is the co-founder of We Are Feminist Leaders, a programme that supports individuals and organisations to embed feminist principles in the way they lead and work. She has held a variety of leadership positions in the international development sector, including at War Child UK and Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. She continues to work as a consultant for the global development sector, where she is also an anti-racism organiser.

Mariama Deschamps

As Director of the Global Safeguarding Unit at Plan International, Mariama supports Plan International to deliver on its commitment to ‘do no harm’ to children and young people, as well as adults, with whom the organisation comes into contact. She spearheaded the organisation’s focus on culture with a focus on the proactive exploration and understanding of power, privilege and implicit bias. Mariama and her team also recently developed the organisation’s anti-racism modules. She is a co-chair on Plan International’s Anti-Racism and Equity Council and a member of its Anti-Racism and Equity Steering Committee.

Elena Ghizzo

Elena Ghizzo is one of the co-founders of the Feminist Hiking Collective, a feminist non-profit organisation that aims to build collective feminist leadership and collective feminist power through hiking and mountaineering, and to contribute to transformative system change through feminist popular education and resource co-creation, to build a just feminist world that is grounded in our belonging to nature. Together with Srilatha Batliwala, FHC has recently launched an initiative to map practices of collective feminist leadership worldwide called ‘From me to we’.

Lysa John

Lysa John is Secretary-General of CIVICUS, a global alliance dedicated to protecting civil society and civic freedoms. She is passionate about governance accountability and social justice and has spent a large part of her work coordinating large-scale civil society campaigns. Her past roles include serving as Head of Outreach for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda and Global Campaign Director for Save the Children International.

Xenia Kellner

Xenia Kellner is a feminist activist and movement builder who works as an international consultant for gender and intersectional justice, as well as transformative, inclusive, and feminist leadership. She is a Co-Founder of Young Feminist Europe (YFE), a young intersectional feminist-led organisation that aims to amplify young feminist voices and activities through campaigns, advocacy and movement building and a member of the Global Civil Society Advisory Group to the Generation Equality Forum.

Françoise Moudouthe

A pan-African feminist with roots in Cameroon, Françoise Moudouthe is fiercely committed to gender and social justice and to fostering sisterhood within African feminist movements. Françoise is the CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the founder of Eyala, a bilingual (English-French) platform that amplifies the diverse voices and lived experiences of African feminists. She also played an instrumental role in incubating Girls Not Brides and spearheading its growth in Africa. Françoise is a Board member of the Malala Fund, Womankind Worldwide and the WATHI think tank.

Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo

Verlaine-Diane Soobroydoo is an international strategist and public policy professional serving at UN Women Executive Office on Global/Africa Strategic Priorities. Verlaine is the Founding Coordinator of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN), a joint African Union-UN Women initiative established to scale up women’s leadership in Africa. She is also actively involved in advancing young women’s rights and is the founder of the impact initiative Zahara’s Dream Inc., which supports young women from vulnerable and/or low-income communities empowering themselves by tapping into their full potential.

This program is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.