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

Our programs include:

Global Change Leaders program
Global Change Leaders program

This program enables participants identifying as women from developing countries to strengthen their leadership capacities in order to contribute towards a feminist and just world. Program participants engage in at the conceptual, policy level and praxis of understanding development, justice and feminism.

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Women’s Leadership for Community Development
Women’s Leadership for Community Development

This program will focus on recognizing and celebrating women’s strengths and gifts, assessing leadership models and approaches, exploring feminist movement building in solidarity with others, and include the sharing of tools and frameworks that prioritize justice, equity and inclusion.

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Conferences and Webinars

‘Local Women’s Voices for Peace’ explored the successes and challenges in implementing UNSCR 1325 and its impacts on the lives of women and girls over the past 20 years through the shared experiences of local women in all corners of the world.

Coady Institute celebrated the International Day of Friendship in 2000 with the launch of One People, One Heartbeat: Creating Connections through Art, an online art gallery. Themes included friendship, community development, peacebuilding, collective work, and resilience. Click here for more information.

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.

In the News

Ela Bhatt Memorial Bursary

Ela Bhatt Memorial Bursary

Ela Bhatt Memorial BursaryFor close to 40 years, Coady Institute has partnered with the Self-Employed Women's Association, founded by the late Ela...

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