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What We Do

Transformative Leadership

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UN Feminenza conference Jan 2006 076
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UN Feminenza conference Jan 2006 139

Transformative Leadership

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Young Women's Leadership Program

This program was initiated with the support of ladies from Feminenza North America and the leadership of Eileen McGowan, an FNA Board member. The overall goal of the program was to establish a group of young women leaders, from PHS (Peekskill High School), that would become positive contagion agents who are actively assisting with specific needs within the Peekskill community and schools.

Developing the next generation of leaders
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At the dawn of this century, the United Nations issued Millennium Development Goal Number 3 (MDG3) ‘to promote gender equality and empower women, a priority being to strengthen the role of women in leadership’. In 2012 MDG3 it was replaced by Sustainable Development Goal 5 which broadly covered the same intent.

Let’s think about that one. The General Assembly of the United Nations recognised, right across the world, that were was - and still is – a need for gender equality: girls accessing better education; women having a better shot at participation in, and leadership of, civil society. Not all countries signed up to the goal, however it did enable us to measure the challenges ahead more clearly. By 2010 the statistics were clear: much remains to be done. Not every country has quite grasped the point that when women are educated, take a more active role in civil society, the world does become a better place. But what would it actually take to bring that about? Numerous studies have shown that this is about more than access, education and training.

Women taking on the task of leadership need to grow their inner self-leadership qualities to the point where they have the necessary intactness to survive coercion, corruption; to demonstrate the qualities of feminine leadership vital to building a better and more equitable society. We contend that to lead transformation, a process of inner development and alignment is needed, matched with continued commitment to a refining purpose. These two ingredients form the basis for self leadership.

The skills for these processes are not necessarily innate in all. They can be learned; however they are vital to a woman living within the complex, pressured environment of a civic administration, a parliamentary role, in business or in the leadership of the third sector. The chief challenge is in preparing an entire generation of women with the attitudes, skills and development to deliver ‘transformative leadership’ in government, business and the third sector.

We continually work with women: in the third sector, in business, in government – a pool of conscious, development-minded and accountable women leaders who can, by following a well mapped set of courses:

  • Draw upon their inner values to establish resilience and to sustain their personal and shared purposes

  • Develop the qualities, attitudes and skills needed to be effective

  • Establish agreement, accountability and strategy founded upon shared values and agreed purpose


UN WOMEN and SIDA sponsored 28 women, following the post election crisis in Kenya (2008) and commissioned us to help them guide the most conflict torn communities. Within one year they became an internationally recognised demonstration that women with minimal resources could lead entire communities across ethnic and religious lines, to establish peace, reconciliation and most importantly, resilience and restorative justice. Part of UN WOMEN’s response to the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 it became an inspiring example of women, delivering transformative change, with inside-out, people to people engagement strategies.

The work continues. We started by assisting women to help them lead their communities and with their sisters, to build a better world, partly assisted by SIDA. In 2014 we worked with teenage girls in Peekskill New York to contribute to the development of their neighbourhoods. In 2015, DFID funded us to take it a step further, involving officers from the police, military, municipal and government civil leaders, community elders, community promoters, NGO leaders and aspiring parliamentarians. And with every year the challenges become broader, more demanding – and much, much more interesting!


Ongoing outcomes
  • Women and girls making a profound difference.

  • A proven framework of leadership development, specific to women, accessible and affordable

  • Women equipped to recognise and address their individual, long-term inner and outer development challenges and having the qualities to be effective.

  • Men understanding the unique challenges that women encounter: within, in the workplace and in civil society; helping to make a difference.

  • Educators and mentors developed: improving access, developmental support and guidance, on line for 21 country, and face to face in 18 countries… and counting.

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