Women and power: overcoming barriers to leadership and influence

Research reports and studies
February 2016
Tam O'Neil and Pilar Domingo

Around the world, women now have more decision-making power and influence over social, political and economic life, than ever before. However, progress is uneven both across and within countries. While increasing the numbers of women in political positions is important, it does not automatically follow that they have real authority or decision-making autonomy.

This policy paper synthesises findings from two years of research on women’s voice and leadership in decision-making in developing countries – including evidence reviews and five empirical case studies on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Gaza, Kenya and Malawi. It sets out to understand the factors that help and hinder women’s access to and substantive influence in decision-making processes in politics and society, and whether women’s leadership advances gender equality and the wellbeing of women more broadly.

This publication is an output of the Women’s Voice and Leadership in Decision-Making project.