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Julia Gillard establishes Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London

Posted on 04/04/2018

King’s College London is establishing a Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, chaired by Julia Gillard, the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Australia.

The Institute – which will be launched at an event on Wednesday 4 April – will bring together rigorous research, practice and advocacy to better understand and address the causes of women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions across sectors and countries and the way gender negatively impacts the evaluation of women leaders. 

Women face significant barriers to progress at every stage of their careers and continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions, making up just 23% of national parliamentarians, 26% of news media leaders, 27% of judges, 15% of corporate board members, and 9% of senior IT leaders.

Over the past decade, there has been just a 1% increase in the percentage of senior management roles held by women globally, and it has been estimated that it will take 216 years until women have the same pay and employment opportunities as men.

The Institute will undertake a range of activities designed to strengthen:

  • Research – drawing together existing findings and undertaking new research.
  • Engagement – bringing together experts and stakeholders from across the world.
  • Practice – using research to deliver evidence-based training and teaching.
  • Interconnections between research, policy and practice – building an ecosystem that focuses on what works.

Based at the Policy Institute at King’s, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership will also have an active online presence, helping to build a network of researchers and practitioners, and to widely disseminate robust evidence about what is effective in promoting gender equality.

Julia Gillard said:

‘Progress on gender equality is not just slow – in some places it’s reversing. This lack of movement, combined with the current public debate about how women are treated in workplaces and wider society, means there has never been a better time to tackle these issues head-on. The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership will be well-equipped to do so. It will work to help create a world in which being a woman is not a barrier to becoming a leader in any field, nor a factor contributing to negative perceptions of an individual’s leadership.’


Professor Jennifer Rubin, Professor of Public Policy at King’s and Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, said:

‘Women’s leadership is an area where there is already a considerable amount of work taking place, and we plan to harness this existing enthusiasm. Many governments, companies and individuals are committed to addressing the challenge of women’s underrepresentation. What is missing, however, is a way for current initiatives to be integrated with policies and research, as well as combined and evaluated, to bring about real and lasting change. I am delighted we are launching the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership to help fill this gap.’


Professor Ed Byrne, President and Principal of King’s, said:

‘It is a pleasure to be able to work with Julia on this important initiative, and on an issue that has been close to her heart for many years. King’s is a diverse and inclusive university, and to be able to launch the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership with Julia’s involvement demonstrates our ambition to serve society.’



Notes to editors

  1. For further media information, please contact public relations on +44 (0)20 7848 3202 /, or Claire Gilby, PR Manager (Arts & Sciences), on +44 (0)7545 422 544.
  2. Recruitment is currently underway for the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, with a full-time director expected to be confirmed in post later this year, when research and engagement activities will begin in earnest.
  3. Sources for proportion of women in various leadership roles:
    1. National parliamentarians: UN Women, ‘Women in Politics: 2017’
    2. News media leaders: IWMF, Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media
    3. Judges: OECD, Government at a glance 2013
    4. Corporate board members: Credit Suisse Research, The CS Gender 3000: The Reward for Change
    5. Senior IT leaders: 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey
    6. Sources for slow rate of progress on gender equality:
      1. Grant Thornton, Women in business
      2. World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2017
      3. Julia Gillard has been a Visiting Professor at King’s College London since August 2016.
      4. For further information about the Policy Institute, visit its About us page.
      5. For further information about King’s, visit our King's in Brief page.

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