While women make up a majority of the nonprofit workforce, they are still severely under-represented in leadership roles in the sector due to biases and structural barriers. According to the American Association of University Women report, “Broken Ladders: Barriers to Women’s Representation in Nonprofit Leadership” women make up 75% of jobs in the nonprofit, education, and philanthropic sectors, yet they hold far less than 75% of leadership positions in these organizations.
Although a CEO position is just one type of nonprofit leadership position, a 2021 Chronicle of Philanthropy cover story on gender disparity in leadership roles throughout the nonprofit sector reports that for each additional million dollars in annual revenue, a nonprofit is 0.2 percent less likely to hire a woman as its CEO. While women were 60% of CEOs at organizations with budgets of $1 million or less, that number drops to 25% at groups with budgets of $50 million or more.
Leadership programs that advocate for nonprofit women leaders are crucial in helping women advance their careers, and ultimately break barriers. Learn about just a few of the available programs and resources tailored to support women and women-identifying leaders.
Boston Women’s Fund Women of Color Leadership Circle
The Anna Faith Jones and Frieda Garcia Women of Color Leadership Circle is a six-month cohort program that supports women and gender-expansive leaders of color and advances their leadership journeys. Through the program, up to 15 leaders participate in monthly facilitated sessions that are curated to be a safe space for belonging, fellowship, learning, unlearning, self-care, and restoration—a place where participants can share their challenges and frustrations and learn and grow from each other’s experiences.
The Impact Center Women’s Executive Leadership Program
The Women’s Executive Leadership Program focuses on accelerating participants’ professional development and strengthening their identity as leaders. Through a curated and thoughtful curriculum, executive coach, along with a community of peer support, the program provides participants with the structure and know-how to reflect on their own paths as leaders and to make deliberate decisions about their next steps.
Women in Development Greater Boston
Women in Development of Greater Boston is a membership organization dedicated to the education and support of advancement professionals through an offering of various programs and services as well as opportunities for volunteer involvement. Membership in WID provides an extensive array of educational and networking opportunities to development professionals. Learn about the local Boston chapter and the national network.
American Association of University Women Fellowships and Grants
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances gender equality in education, economic security, and leadership. Since 1888, AAUW has been one of the largest funders of women’s graduate education, investing in women who go on to change the world. In the 2022-23 award year, the organization is providing $6 million in funding to more than 320 fellows and grantees for recipients to pursue academic work and lead innovative community projects to empower women and girls.
LeaderSpring Center Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship
LeaderSpring asserts that racial justice, gender equity, and economic empowerment are twentieth century leadership competencies that all leaders must possess. The purpose of the Women of Color LeadStrong Fellowship is to elevate and strengthen the vision, voice, power, and leadership of women of color working for social justice and racial equity in the social sector. This Fellowship creates a healing, generative, and rigorous space to learn and grow.
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