The 'Leadership for Gender Equality' is a new British Council programme focused on progressing gender equality and addressing the gender gaps in leadership by providing dialogue and capacity-building opportunities to civil society and higher education leaders.

Women continue to be under-represented in leadership positions. The result is that their involvement in influencing and making decisions is limited. Traditional power structures are unchallenged, and gender inequalities globally persist. This is compounded once we look at intersectional identities, such as women with disabilities.

Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (no. 5): achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, the programme works to create dialogue opportunities to influence policies that benefit women and girls. This is done through working with civil society and higher education partners to promote access and opportunities for women and girls and build their skills and confidence to achieve their potential and have more influence over decisions that affect their lives.

The ‘Leadership for Gender Equality’ programme works in selected countries in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), South Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. For the MENA region, the programme, in its pilot edition, is implemented in Egypt and Morocco.

What is the overall objective of the programme?

We seek to support social transformation in the programme countries by implementing activities that aim at strengthening skills and networks for gender equality and increasing the participation of women in leadership across the social development and education sectors. The programme aims to attract regional youth and senior networks connecting civil society, non-governmental organisations, and educational institutions.

What are the programme strands?

The ‘Leadership for Gender Equality’ programme has four main strands that aim to address its overall objective:

1. Digital leadership training courses: 

Strengthen the capacity and skills of MENA leaders from the civil society and higher education sectors by providing them with training opportunities and resources to advance gender equality within their organisations and communities. 

2. Digital networking events: 

Strengthening communities and networks of gender-responsive leaders from the civil society and higher education sectors through collaboration, exchange, and peer to peer learning.

3. Digital collaboration and partnership grants: 

Encouraging organisations from the programme countries and their partner organisations in the UK to work jointly and undertake small projects that address gender equality in leadership.

4. Digital mapping exercise: 

Identifying organisations and individuals working on advancing women’s leadership and gender equality in their communities.