Public leadership for gender equality: A framework and capacity development approach for gender transformative policy change

Elsevier, eClinicalMedicine, Volume 56, February 2023, 101798
Alex Munive, Jenn Donville, Gary L. Darmstadt

Public leadership is essential in social change, and pivotal in transforming social and institutional norms related to gender inequality, going well beyond equal representation. It must embrace the potential for all public health leaders, of all genders, to become agents of change who challenge gender injustices and institutionalise gender transformative policies and programmes in public health. To support officials, initially in Ethiopia, and catalyse transformative change, we created a new framework and capacity development approach – Public Leadership for Gender Equality (PL4GE) – which can be customised to respond to each country's context. Drawing from three areas of leadership thought – public, transformative, and feminist leadership – PL4GE takes a public values approach in positioning gender equality as a human right, a common good, and a means to improve health outcomes. PL4GE promotes six key leadership practices – defining purpose and articulating vision, co-creating public value, empowering people, fostering strategic partnerships, navigating power, and embodying personal commitment – and guides public leaders through a capacity development journey of change, facilitating them to identify and activate opportunities for gender transformative change in their work and in turn, more broadly within the public whom they serve.