Risk and resilience: from gender inequality to female leadership

Organizer: Elisabeth Gilmore
Format: Online, Evening

Female leadership has been associated with fewer deaths and better societal outcomes during the covid-19 pandemic. Inspired by the observed link, this session is an interactive exploration of the intersection of women’s perspectives on risk and the challenges for women to enter positions of leadership. First, across a wide range of contexts and countries, we discuss women’s exposure, vulnerability and importantly, resilience to systemic risks and how these perspectives shape our understanding of risks and effective approaches to moderating their adverse effects. Second, we draw upon this discussion to elaborate how women in leadership positions are associated with improved societal outcomes in the face of systemic risks. Finally, we discuss the barriers to and opportunities for increasing female leadership. Specifically, we emphasize the joint role of gender and economic inequality as a driver of systemic risk and as a barrier to female leadership. Women’s presence in leadership roles represents overcoming serious challenges and societal structures that impair women’s ability to obtain and maintain elected positions. This pattern exists across countries and regions, regardless of country economic status, underscoring the need to develop intentional and international approaches to developing, recruiting and retaining female leaders. Female voices from researchers and practitioners across the sustainability space in the Global South and North are invited to participate in guided, small group discussions to elaborate on these three themes with the goal of articulating a vision for gender equity as central to improving societal outcomes in the face of increasingly complex risks. This session represents an early step in building an international network of women to foster leadership and provide training in the approaches for addressing systemic risks. This session contributes to SDG5: Gender equality.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs