COFEM Learning Brief Series

Brief & Video 1

Feminist Leadership


This Learning Brief is part of a series produced by COFEM to share knowledge and spark discussion around complex themes in global work to end violence against women and girls. Drawing on the experiences of COFEM members through Working Group and Learning Circle models, the Learning Brief Series covers topics relating to violence against women and girls and feminist movement building and activism within humanitarian and development work.

A key element of feminist leadership is the ability to learn from others and evolve from this learning. This topic was identified as a catalyst for members to discuss how, as a feminist collective, COFEM engages its members and members engage with one another. In this first Learning Circle, we recognised clearly that – despite common rhetoric on inclusion and privilege – much transformative work remains to be done, both within COFEM as a network and ourselves as individuals working in the humanitarian and development fields.

For feminist practice to be truly inclusive – i.e. ‘feminist’ – we must rethink the spaces and structures we inhabit and how we share power. It is even more critical to adopt increasingly effective, creative and collaborative models of leadership because our primary understanding and models of leadership come from traditional patriarchal forms of authority. Applying feminist leadership principles allows us to do this.