Gender Transformative Approaches
With gender inequalities persisting across all levels of leadership, it merits thinking carefully about what we mean when discussing ‘gender transformative’ approaches.
The following definition from UNICEF is a good place to start:
“Gender transformation actively examines, questions and changes rigid gender norms and imbalances of power that advantage boys and men over girls and women. It aspires to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and reshape unequal power relations; it moves beyond individual self-improvement among girls and women towards redressing the power dynamics and structures that serve to reinforce gendered inequalities”
An important element is recognising that responsibility for achieving gender equality does not rest on the shoulders of individuals fighting for their seat at the table; it is about collectively challenging policies, structures, and power dynamics that uphold and perpetuate gender inequalities.
Challenging these barriers to parity requires unified efforts from all people and sectors. There is no single or immediate intervention that will remedy such a vast, pervasive issue. Whilst we must accept that transformation takes time, we cannot sit back and assume equality is the inevitable outcome: it will only be achieved if we consciously and actively fight for it.
That is why we want to focus on local and national initiatives to address what is by nature a global problem. We want to harness the power of existing movements and organisations, by creating collaborative spaces and opportunities to bring people together, share knowledge and ideas, and foster ties with our sister WGH chapters around the world.
We recognise that striving for true gender equality must be intersectional, acknowledging and addressing the additional barriers faced by people of colour, LGBTQ+ communities, and other marginalised groups - this is the only equitable way to level the playing field.
To find out more, this research backgrounder from Oxfam America presents a compelling case and evidence for the importance and power of transformative and feminist leadership.