Mar 172010

This collection of websites on leadership provides access to over sixty online sources (English and Spanish), including academic and political analyses and reflections, educational material, and culturally-sensitive case studies.

Traditional studies and notions of leadership rarely question established hierarchies and power differentials.  Often focused on individual roles, goals, and responsibilities within the contexts of  “the company,”  they end up reproducing and naturalizing economic, racial, and gender differences beyond the particular context of the organization. Even when traditional notions of leadership claim empowerment, this is often at the expense of collaborative decision-making, equality, and the potential for social justice.

As a whole this collection subscribes to a critical understanding of leadership, moving away from individual and managerial considerations and towards a notion of leadership embedded in the collective and the social. These sites consider the potential of alternative leadership models for social, economic, and political transformation in contexts where poverty, exploitation, exclusion, and inequality are prevalent. The analyses regarding the kinds and scope of leadership practices are, therefore, grounded on concrete structural and hierarchical relations in a variety of geographic settings.

  • Articles
  • Reports/Analysis
  • Manual/Resource kits
  • Videos
  • Links


  1. Power, Leadership and Citizenship: some conceptualizations of power
    What is power? Who holds power? Do women want power? Why do women want power? These kinds of questions force us to take a look at systems of relations (family, school, church, political parties, etc.) with varied intersections and that play a fundamental function in the sociocultural order, characteristics, and interpretation of daily life. Document in Spanish.
    Agenda de las Mujeres: el portal de las mujeres argentinas, iberoamericanas y del mercosur
  2. Gender and leadership: historical perspectives
    This article provides a historical overview of the relationship between gender and leadership. Document in Spanish.
    Women’s Network: a feminist newspaper
  3. Are leaders born or made?
    There are many theories that explain the leadership phenomenon. Among a variety of theories, the author contends that the Theory of Situational Leadership is most useful to understand the context of small and medium organizations, where leaders and subordinates are relatively close to each other. This theory is also useful to undertake and lead transformative changes. This article presents a summary of the most relevant aspects of this theory. Document in Spanish.
    Women’s Development Network
  4. But we don’t have leaders!
    By Chris Crass
    “Anti-authoritarian organizing, as it relates to this essay, is building the capacity of people and their organizations to challenge illegitimate authority – which includes capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism and the state. Anti-authoritarian organizing, like other forms of radical organizing, uses principles of solidarity, cooperation and participatory democracy to build movements for social change.” Document in Spanish.


  1. Transforming the Landscape of Leadership in Microfinance: Maintaining the Focus on Women
    “This paper offers institutional approaches to increase the representation of women professionals in microfinance. Section one shows the importance of women’s leadership in microfinance and discusses the business case for gender diversity. Section two offers a case study of Pakistan’s Kashf Foundation, a member of the WWB network whose methods of furthering organizational gender diversity have been exemplary. In 2008, WWB worked with Kashf to further strengthen the organization’s initiatives to promote gender diversity. Finally, section three presents Women’s World Banking’s strategies for improving gender diversity in microfinance institutions (MFIs), including WWB’s Women’s Leadership Development Program and the newly developed Organizational Gender Assessment (OGA) methodology, a tool for diagnosing challenges and identifying opportunities that MFIs face in the attraction, retention and promotion of qualified women staff members.”
    Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  2. Political leaders in Africa: presidents, patrons or profiteers.  A new direction of leadership in Africa
    “This paper takes a look at formal and informal leadership in Africa in light of leaders’ pivotal role in setting political agendas, distributing resources and political action. The author argues that the international perception of Africa as a continent of endemic conflict largely overshadows the significant progress made towards more stable, accountable and open political systems. However, constraints on the current political environment remain including the legacy of colonialism, ‘stayism’ and the proliferation of actors challenging the state’s authority and power all have an impact on current and future stability.”
  3. Learning for Action on Women’s Leadership and Participation.
    This book provides a collection of 10 papers that analyze leadership in its relationship to gender. It presents a variety of case studies from Haiti, The Philippines, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Britain, Palestinian Territories and Israel, Honduras, and Chile. In addition, the site also provides access to a substantive collection of resources on women and gender.
  4. Palpable Pedagogy: Expressive Arts, Leadership, and Change in Social Justice Teacher Education (An Ethnographic/Auto-Ethnographic Study of the Classroom Culture of an Arts-Based Teacher Education Course)
    Palpable Pedagogy is a qualitative study that examines the power of the expressive arts to identify, explore, and address issues of inequity in the context of a social justice teacher education course that I taught over three consecutive years. The literature in the field outlines the essential components for effective social justice teacher education (identity, reflection, and dialogue) and neatly explores them.”
    PhD Thesis (2009)
    Autor:  Barbara, Lucy Elizabeth (
  5. Conversations with women on leadership and social transformation
    “This paper compiles interviews with 18 women community leaders, clarifying their visions, perspectives on coalition building and leadership, and their fundamental questions on how to challenge power and accountability. In their own words, these women talk about leadership and particularly women’s practice of that leadership for social change. The authors stress, however, that while this paper studies women’s leadership, “women” is a very homogenous category, and “women’s leadership” must be unpacked as a term. While there maybe a congruence among women’s interests, the variety of perspectives related in this piece must be understood as reflecting a huge variety of experiences.”
    This source can also be found at Gender at Work

Manual/Resource kits

  1. Leading to Choices: Leadership Training Handbook for Women
    “The alternative leadership model presented in the handbook responds to the need for leaders who aspire to create egalitarian, democratic, and pluralistic societies based on collaborative decision-making, coalition-building, and gender equality. Leading to Choices features a contextual chapter, twelve workshop sessions, and an appendix containing culture-specific scenarios relevant to the cultivation of effective leadership skills.
    Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
    Source can also be found at Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace
  2. Young Women and Leadership Glossary (The glossary is currently being revised and will be available online again soon)
    The objective of the glossary is to provide on-line, interactive and accessible information about key terms related generally to women’s human rights and gender and development work.
    Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
  3. Leadership for social justice: capacity-building resource manual
    “This manual supports the development of new leaders committed to social justice. As a resource for facilitators of workshops and other education and training events, it shares session designs, exercises, handouts, and short readings. The training program is divided into eight modules with separate but complementary themes. The first seven are set in a sequence that allows participants in multi-day workshops to systematically develop wide-ranging social justice leadership competencies as well as professional relationships with other participants based on mutual support, exchange of information, and the possibility of future collaboration.”
    Source can also be found at School for International Training, World Learning
  4. Learning leadership development from African cultures: a personal perspective
    “This note looks at how African culture can contribute to leadership development. The brief describes aspects of leadership and leadership development in pre-colonial Africa. These lessons are then applied to leadership development in civil society organizations (CSOs).”
  5. Courses and Tutorials on line: Leadership
    This course offers 31 lessons, each lesson deals with particular themes related to leadership. Documents in Spanish.
    Women’s Development Network
  6. Women’s political leadership at the local level
    This guide contributes to the identification of strategic actors that affect the local and that contribute to a democracy based on gender equality. Document in Spanish.
    iKNOW Politics: International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics


  1. The road to success: Testimonies of women political leaders
    This video documents the cases of prominent leaders from Burundi, Canada, Filipinas, Ireland, Jordan, Namibia, Noriega, Peru, South African and Uganda. In their testimony, these women share their trajectory and political experience as well as strategies for success in politics. Video in Spanish.
    iKNOW Politics: International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics


  1. Center for Women’s Global Leadership
    This site provides a number of sources, pedagogical material, and publications that deal with Leadership, Human Rights, and Development with a particular emphasis on gender.
  2. Synergos Bridging Leadership Resource Center
    This site provides a number of articles on leadership as well as a total of 15 case studies from Latin America, South East Asia, Southern Africa, and North America. This site also provides pedagogical material for a seminar on leadership and collaboration.
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