Strategies Employed, Lessons Learned, and Challenges Ahead: Diversity & Inclusion

The full results and reflections from the Diversifying the Leadership of women’s centers project are available for PDF download.


While participants in this project on Diversifying the Leadership of women’s centers were focused on their own very different institutional realities, their work – like other Council work in the area of diversity, institutional change, and leadership – shares common threads and carries some common lessons:

  • the importance of coalitions, partnerships, and alliances;
  • the need to engage leadership at all levels of an institution;
  • the power of mentorship, sponsorship, and role modeling;
  • the dual imperative to address structural barriers as well as provide individuals with necessary support and skills to advance their careers; and
  • the agency of women themselves in creating conditions where they can survive, thrive, and advance.   


The projects also confirm the unique positions of women’s research, policy, and advocacy centers, at the nexus of diverse issues and populations, and the role they can therefore play in addressing the knotty challenges confronting all institutions working for greater inclusion and diversity. All project participants – especially those that were small, under-resourced, and/or relatively homogeneous – emphasized the need to reach beyond their own centers, creating greater collective impact and bringing a broader range of experience, perspectives, and expertise than was represented within the center originally.