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SP31 - Gender, Violence, and Leadership

Convened by Stacey Scriver (University of Galway, Ireland)

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The Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SGD 5, make clear that women’s leadership is a necessary condition of sustainable, equitable growth. Research has indicated that women’s leadership brings particular skills and practices that facilitate the negotiation of crises (e.g. Post 2019; Desvaux 2009) and are thus essential for ensuring equity as new rhythms of development emerge in contexts of crisis in the Global South. Yet, women remain under-represented in leadership positions across multiple spheres – from local and national politics, to programme governance, to business – globally, but also notably in developing contexts. While research has recognised some of the barriers to women’s leadership, including gender bias and stereotypes, familial responsibility, a lack of female role models, among others, the role of violence has been less well considered.

Violence against Women is a pervasive human rights issue with significant impacts on physical and mental health, self-esteem and efficacy and on productivity (Duvvury 2021). Experience and/or threat of violence is consequently likely to impact on women’s leadership. For instance: How does violence in the home impact on women’s capability to take on leadership roles? How does violence against women already in leadership positions, impact on the decision to stay in those positions or indeed on the decisions of other women to take on such roles? How does violent insecurity, as a result of conflict, climate crisis, humanitarian catastrophes, and other factors, affect opportunities for women’s leadership? In what ways does structural violence continue to impede women’s progress into and in leadership?

This seed panel seeks to explore these questions as we consider how women’s leadership can be supported to seek equitable solutions to the many crises we face globally. Papers that address these questions, from a variety of possible directions and locations, will be considered.

This panel is organised by the EADI Working Group on Gender Justice

Desvaux, G., Devillard, S., and Sancier-Sultan, S. (2009) Women Leaders, A Competitive Edge in and After a Crisis. Women Matters 3. McKinsey and Co.

Duvvury, N., Scriver, S., Gammage, S., and John, N. (2021).The Impacts of Violence against Women on Choice and Agency: Evidence from Ghana and Pakistan. Women's Studies International Forum, 89.

Post, C., Latu, I. M., & Belkin, L. Y. (2019). A Female Leadership Trust Advantage in Times of Crisis: Under What Conditions? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 43(2), 215-231. doi:10.1177/0361684319828292