Women's Leadership and Participation: Case Studies on Learning for Action

Thursday, December 31, 2009
Joanna Hoare and Fiona Gell

What are the barriers to women's leadership and participation and how could they be encouraged to take up leadership positions? Once they are leading, what support do women need to carry out their roles effectively and for progressive purposes? Women continue to be underrepresented in all areas of decision making and face significant barriers to full and equal participation in the structures and institutions that govern their lives. But women's equal participation is fundamental to attempts to eliminate gender-based poverty. This book sets out, through eight case studies documenting the work of Oxfam's partners in different regions, examples of work in progress to create change. These include projects on women's political participation in Sierra Leone, Honduras, Cambodia, and Haiti; work to increase women's visibility in the economic and social sectors in Chile; and projects in the Philippines, Israel, and the UK to support women's activities in civil-society organisations. Lessons learned from these projects include: the need to support the participation and leadership of women living in poverty or who suffer discrimination on the basis of disability, ethnicity, class, caste, HIV status, religion, or age; and the importance of accompanying work to support women's leadership with long-term support for claiming and exercising rights in other areas such as access to and control over resources, access to public services such as education and health, or protection from violence.

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Women\'s Leadership Participation Case Studies, Hoare and Gell, 2009