“Multiplying the Impact”: Inspiring Women Leaders as Mentors

Inspiring Women Leaders

“Multiplying the Impact”: Inspiring Women Leaders as Mentors

By Fleur Heyworth, Head of Gender and Inclusive Security

At the heart of the GCSP’s mission to build international cooperation to advance peace and security are the people, we engage with. Building personal relationships of trust and understanding across geographical, political and demographic boundaries allows knowledge to be shared, new ideas to be born and collaborative projects to be developed.

A persistent gap across many institutions in our field is the equal and meaningful participation of women, particularly at senior levels. Challenges in this regard include social norms and stereotypes, as well as policies and practices across much of the globe those favour men as leaders and see women as being best suited to undertake the majority of care work in the home. Because of these biased perceptions, many women encounter sexist attitudes, harassment and even violence, particularly in public and political life.

To support women working across the peace and security spectrum to reach their full potential we have developed “Inspiring Women Leaders” (IWL) courses – both open-enrolment courses and customised courses with partners across Europe and Africa. Over the last four years 271 women working for governments, security sector institutions and civil society from over 40 countries have benefited from these courses by building their knowledge, skills and a community of support. 

To enable our IWL course participants to “multiply the impact”, we have developed a guide to the approaches, mindsets and skills needed by an effective mentor, and are building on the IWL course content through open resources to explore the Seven Themes women that need to navigate to achieve success in their careers. The guide helps mentor and mentee to structure their relationship so as to achieve concrete goals and provides recommendations for developmental conversations that can benefit both of the people involved in this crucial relationship.    

The guide has been made possible thanks to the support of the US Mission in Geneva, which sponsored Ms Lisa Larson to work with the GCSP to advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda on the Agenda’s 20th anniversary. 

“People make peace and security possible.”

Fleur Heyworth leads the GCSP's executive education, dialogue and policy analysis on gender and inclusive security.  Working closely with the Geneva Leadership Alliance, she designs and facilitates courses on leadership for women, and for male and female leaders to create more inclusive working environments.  She also delivers modules on gender and inclusive security to the multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural participants on GCSP's core courses, incorporating the frameworks of the Women Peace and Security Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals.