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Research project

IncluLeader - Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Governance

This project has received funding from the Open Science Foundations.

This research-based project offers to political leaders the opportunity to develop skills and competences to achieve and defend a more diverse, equal and inclusive leadership at party and government level.

Although some leaders from under-represented groups have emerged recently, from Ursula von der Leyen to Kamala Harris and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, data show that politics is the domain where the gap in women and minorities’ representation is the widest. This persists despite most countries in the world having gender quotas for political representation, and some even quotas for minorities.

Politics needs leaders who are better aware of bias. There is a significant skills and knowledge gap when it comes to favouring the diversification of political leadership. On the one hand, leaders committed to diversity lack the skills that are necessary to make it happen; on the other, they lack knowledge and data to support arguments in favour of diversity vis-à-vis their peers and electorate. Skills and knowledge should be improved especially in top decision makers, i.e. a party leadership which is made predominantly of autochthonous men.

A more equal and diverse representation is both a sign and a product of a more accomplished democratic system. Besides, studies also show that inclusive leaderships can deliver policies that enhance everyone’s wellbeing, and yield a more sustainable governance.

Our project 'Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Governance', based at the European University Institute's School of Transnational Governance, aims to provide new instruments, in the form of policy dialogues, peer-to-peer learning, ad-hoc training and mentoring, to transform leadership, create inclusive party and government environments, and bridge the gender and diversity gap in politics.

The project targets especially male party leaders and is built upon original research, e.g. focus groups, interviews, and large-scale surveys, and relies on the advice of a wide network of experts and institutions. These include Promundo Global, the National Democratic Institute, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Global Center for Gender Equality at Stanford University, the Berkeley Center for Comparative Equality and Anti-discrimination Law, the Central and Eastern Europe Network for Gender Issues, the European Women’s Lobby, PES Women, the ALDE European Women Academy and gender spokespersons in European and national parties, and institutions.

Research, training, peer to peer learning and mentoring.

The project supports the development of a set of skills and competences among political leaders, including:

  • Transformational leadership skills: favouring and communicating inclusive environments and policy
  • Awareness of privileges, gendered conceptions of leadership, and gaps in political leadership.
  • Mechanisms in party statutes and electoral laws which affect equal representation and political careers;
  • Effects of inclusive leadership in terms of representation, decision-making practices, and quality of public policies;
  • Basic of gender economics and gender-based policy analysis
  • Arguments, theories and data countering anti-gender and anti-equality theories and movements

Coming up on 11-12 July 2022: Executive Training 'Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Governance - Empowering the new role models'


HERMANIN C., Beyond quota systems: bridging the political gap for women, EUIdeas blog, 26/11/2020

HERMANIN C., Inclusive leadership, COVID and sustainability, EUIdeas blog, 19/03/2021

HERMANIN C. et al., Training politicians towards a more inclusive leadership : a proposal, Cadmus, 14/06/2022

The team

Group members

External Partners

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