International Centre for Women’s Leadership

Igniting Women’s Leadership Worldwide

Meeting and responding effectively to the challenges of this century depends on the commitment and ability of societies around the globe to achieve equality for the world’s women. We know that empowered women means improved quality of life for everyone. Yet, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions in the social, economic and political arenas. Coady Institute prioritizes educational opportunities that help women advance as leaders in such arenas and especially at the local level, thereby ensuring their influence in all aspects of development. Created in 2011, our International Centre for Leadership focuses on community leadership education informed by intersectional, feminist, transformative leadership models, strong partnerships with women-led and like-minded organizations, and community-driven action-oriented knowledge creation and dissemination.

Inquiries about the International Centre for Women’s Leadership and its programs may be sent by email to


Global Change Leaders (on-campus)

The Global Change Leaders program is an opportunity for women from developing countries and indigenous communities to deepen their leadership capacities through a contextually relevant and in-depth seven-week residency program. Mentorship, peer exchange and global networking are all built into its design. This program is open to those who have demonstrated leadership in a development sector and community for at least five years. Participants are chosen from a competitive call for applications.

Click here for more information.

Women’s Leadership for Community Development (on-campus)

This certificate is a unique women-only opportunity to connect face-to-face with other women working in development to ‘be the change’ they want to see in their community or organization. During the course, we will explore our assets and strengths that contribute to effective community leadership and explore leadership models and participatory practices for addressing the challenges of our times.

Click here for more information.

Women’s Leadership for Community Development (online)

This online program inspires women around the world (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to enhance their leadership capacities for citizen-led community-driven development and create spaces for social change in solidarity with others, focusing on tools that prioritize equity and inclusion. The course welcomes women of all ages and backgrounds who are able to demonstrate the ways they are currently engaged in local development in their respective countries.

Click here for more information.

Advancing Women’s Leadership in Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding and Community Development (Online)

This online course, for women, is designed to advance understandings of conflict, security and peace for women’s leadership in community and societal change. Explicit emphasis is put on women’s experiences, roles, knowledge, opportunities, and barriers in security, conflict transformation and peace building, particularly in community and organizational spaces. Using a gender analysis framework this course focuses on the questions: how do gender stereotypes inform approaches to conflict, security and peace work; what do conflict, security and peace mean for women; and, how can women advance their agendas for peace?  Drawing from key theories and real-life examples, participants will engage in reflective peace and conflict practice and analysis.

The 2020 course has concluded and will be scheduled again in 2021-22.

Click here for more information. 

Indigenous Women’s Leadership Programs

Coady Institute offers a range of programs specifically for Indigenous women leaders, especially those coming from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. We engage  Indigenous women facilitators and program staff to lead this vital work and involve advisors, Mentors and Elders in program design and delivery. Our work is informed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada, the recent report from the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, see:

Women’s Leadership – Projects and Partnerships

Nobel Women’s Initiative – Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program

Coady Institute is pleased to partner with Nobel Women’s Initiative on their Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program. Each year the program brings five grassroots young women activists from around the world to Ottawa, Canada for 6 weeks of hands-on communications and advocacy training. The Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program has supported young women activists from Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia, Burma, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. These young women are at the forefront of movements to promote peace, justice and equality in their communities. Since 2017, Coady has provided support for a young Indigenous woman activist from a First Nations, Métis or Inuit community to participate in the program. Cohorts come to Coady for a one-week leadership workshop during the Program.

For more information, see:

CARE Canada, CARE Zimbabwe and Coady Institute – START4GIRLS Initiative

CARE Canada (lead), CARE Zimbabwe and Coady Institute began a new four-year initiative in March 2020 to strengthen the agency and capacities of adolescent girls and young women in Zimbabwe – as well as the broader education system that supports them. The project, supported by Global Affairs Canada, is called Supporting Transition, Retention and Training for Girls (START4GIRLS) and will work with girls and adolescent women, their communities, and religious and traditional leaders to promote return to school or entrance into vocational skills training for girls who have dropped out, especially married girls and teenage mothers. The START4GIRLS initiative includes a resilient schools framework to bring together the school community system in targeted districts to define their own characteristics and plan systems for building resilient schools relevant to the Zimbabwean context that are risk aware, safe, and innovative.

For more information, see:

Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) – Designing innovative participatory tools for measuring women’s vulnerability in the informal sector and the protective effects of member-based organizations for women’s economic empowerment

Funded by the Ford Foundation, SEWA and Coady Institute are collaborating on a study of the interrelationships between women’s experience of gender-based violence, the collective solidarity of membership in the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), and women’s economic empowerment in India. New participatory tools will be developed to measure gender-based violence and its causes, consequences and moderating influences. This project will run from November 2019 to September 2022.

For further information on SEWA, see:

ENGAGE!  Women’s Empowerment and Active Leadership

Funded by Global Affairs Canada and led by Coady Institute, this five-year project will work to advance gender equality and poverty reduction by enhancing women’s capacity to participate in the social and economic life of their communities. ENGAGE! will apply an asset-based, citizen-led development (ABCD) approach to promote gender-equitable change. This approach ensures that local communities, and in particular women, exercise ownership and control over social and economic development initiatives that respond to their realities and priorities. The project will work with partnering organizations across five countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, India and Tanzania). This project will run from 2020-2024.

Click here for more information. 

Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership Institute (2012-2016)

From 2012-2016, Coady Institute partnered with the Canadian Women’s Foundation on the design and delivery of the Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership Institute.  The Institute supported three cohorts of emerging and mid-career women leaders in the non-profit sector working on economic development issues. With a blended format of online and face-to-face programming, the Institute incorporated a participant-focused, flexible learning agenda underpinned by strong adult education principles, technical expertise, and technological support. The program drew on personal insight, theory, and practical application, addressing personal leadership skills development; organizational development to strengthen and lead effective organizations and community development and policy/advocacy skills to create or contribute to social change.

For further information, see:
For the final report, click here.