The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF) Women in Leadership (WIL) strategy aims to accelerate progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 of achieving gender equality. This aim will result in women having equal access to leadership positions and improved influence over policy and decision-making for issues affecting women and girls themselves. The Strategic Analysis, Research and Training (START) Center was commissioned by the BMGF to conduct a grey literature review to research the existing labor market and sociocultural dynamics that influence women’s progression into leadership roles in India, Kenya, and Nigeria. This research contributes to the broader understanding of the barriers and facilitators that influence women’s progression into leadership positions with the goal of understanding what can be done at an organizational level to accelerate that progression. The team also answered the question and provided examples as to how outcomes differ when women lead.
The key conclusions and recommendations from this project are:
- It is critical to have effective legislation around supporting women in the workforce to create gender transformative change
- Create or invest in existing mechanisms of accountability for these policies to be implemented on individual, organizational, and societal levels
- Technology formally through network connection or informally through social media, can be used for activism and accountability
- Deeply entrenched cultural norms make it difficult for change to take place in the most effective way
- Lasting societal change comes at the intersection of policy, technology, and cultural change. An integrated approach is needed to meaningfully engage at individual, organizational, and societal levels