What does #LeadingForChange actually look like? On Thursday 10 February, we hosted a Twitter chat to further explore the themes in our new publication, Leading for Change: Case studies from organisations committed to gender equality, with contributors as well as other change-makers in the sector.
Here are some of the key takeaways.
Data isn’t only numbers – it also involves working to understand the experiences of the communities you aim to serve or recruit. Skateistan, who discuss implementing their ‘girls first’ policy in their case study, discussed the importance of identifying barriers for recruiting your target group:
WeMove Europe, who identified diversity in their team as a blind spot, also recommended taking stock of your network and who you’re involving or inviting first as a first step to diversifying your organisation:
For EngenderHealth, improving recruitment was not a one-time affair, but involves regular monitoring:
Changing an organisation takes an organisation
When it comes to the question of staff-led, volunteer initiatives – like the Care International Gender Network, which Head of Gender and Inclusion Kassie McIlvaine discusses in CARE’s Leading for Change case study – there was some consensus: these can serve an important role, but ultimately, senior management needs to be on board if you want to see fundamental shifts.
Which brings us to the next theme: co-leadership and other ‘unconventional’ decision-making structures. Deconstructing traditional hierarchies – and building something new in their place – takes time, effort and more than just implementing a co-leadership model at the very top.
As Leila Billing (We are Feminist Leaders) pointed out, and Gemma Graham (former co-CEO of Restless Development) agreed, for models like co-leadership to be truly transformative, we must question our understanding of what a leader is, rather than simply adding another one:
The process towards shifting power this way may also get messy – but that’s part of the process, the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Feminism and Gender Democracy Global Unit pointed out:
And this takes the bravery to sometimes rethink the entire structure:
But the good news is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the radical overhaul you may think it is – find ways to make it manageable and functional for your purposes!
CEO Laura Sullivan shared that WeMove worked with an organisation called The Hum to review their decision-making processes – check out their Toolbox for Self-organising Teams here!
There also seems to be growing momentum around mentorship – though it wouldn’t be Feminist Leadership if we didn’t talk about shifting the traditional power dynamics:
One last word of wisdom? Whatever it is you want to do, just get started. Not every detail has to be worked out to set a process in motion that could ultimately transform your organisation for the better.
And don’t forget to celebrate successes along the way!
Want to learn more about how organisations are #LeadingForChange? Check out the case studies to hear their experiences, insights and advice!
The case studies are from organisations who have made the FAIR SHARE Commitment to achieve gender equality in their leadership by 2030 and participate in the annual FAIR SHARE Monitor. Learn more on that here.