Women CSO leaders for systemic change

How to support feminist leadership in Europe

Policy Study


Almost 50% of women leaders in Civil Society Organisations (CSO) exhibit signs of pre-burnout! These challenges are systemic, not personal!❗

The new policy study “Women CSO leaders for systemic change” is the first-ever study of its kind, capturing progress within the sector over the last decade as well as remaining barriers and new opportunities for women CSO leaders in achieving systemic change in Europe.

Based on 150 interviews with women CSO leaders, the study found that systemic challenges facing women CSO leaders include structural overwork, exhaustion, poor health, unreasonable demands and misogyny.

At a time when the world urgently needs radically different leadership, intersectional feminist leadership offers an exciting key to unlocking new ways of being and leading through uncertainty: and it is not just for women either!

This is why the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the EU Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union – with the support of the Green European Foundation (GEF) – have commissioned a policy study to develop concrete policy recommendations, which could support the thriving of women leaders.

To address the challenges many women CSO leaders face, the policy study identifies four priority areas for action:
– Radically reimagining power and leadership cultures
– Centering care and shifting societal norms
– Addressing structural financial insecurity within the sector
– Investing in gender equality, diversity, and inclusion

This policy study was launched on 19 February.

Check out the infographic below which reiterates the key findings of the policy study and share it with your network to help implement intersectional feminist leadership for all!

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