Women's Leadership Board

Women's Leadership Board, May 2014

Comprised of leaders from the most senior levels of business, government, academia, and the non-profit sector, members of the Women’s Leadership Board (WLB) serve as key supporters and ambassadors to Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP), a research center of Harvard Kennedy School that specializes in gender research, teaching, training, and outreach. WAPPP and the WLB ask what we can do to create gender equality and improve the lives of women and men around the world. Members of the WLB join WAPPP to discuss new insights into how to close gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health, and education during bi-annual conferences held at Harvard University.

Membership and Support

The Women’s Leadership Board consists of members who engage philanthropically with WAPPP through three annual giving tiers. All members are nominated by members of the Women’s Leadership Board or Harvard Kennedy School officials and evaluated by the WLB executive committee and Harvard University. All members possess a shared dedication to philanthropically supporting the mission, growth, and impact of the Women and Public Policy Program. Individual members are invited based on demonstrated leadership and professional accomplishments. Corporate members are welcomed based on an active commitment to gender equality, diversity, and the advancement of women.

Board members provide a minimum annual gift of $10,000 per individual member, $20,000 per Leadership Circle member, and $25,000 per corporation. These resources provide the Women and Public Policy Program with the foundational support needed to close gender gaps across the globe through research, teaching, and policy outreach.


The Women and Public Policy Program hosts the Women’s Leadership Board for bi-annual meetings on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, MA. These meetings provide access to the newest research findings, policy briefings, and the expertise of Harvard faculty and other global leaders, as well as lively discussions with members and presenters. These meetings serve as a forum for members to share gender innovations in their respective fields with the WLB, WAPPP, and the wider Harvard community.

Benefits of the Women’s Leadership Board

Members of the Women’s Leadership Board:

  • Gain access to cutting-edge research about closing gender gaps globally in the areas of economic opportunity, political participation, health, and education;
  • Support WAPPP and engage with the center in the areas of research, teaching, training and outreach;
  • Use their experience and expertise to serve as effective communicators and promoters of WAPPP’s gender research;
  • Promote the work of Harvard Kennedy School faculty to help advance the overall role of women in society;
  • Participate in bi-annual WLB meetings on campus and other WAPPP and Harvard Kennedy School events; and
  • Champion the next generation of women leaders through WAPPP’s research, fellowships, and internships.

Leadership Circle

In addition to the above, Leadership Circle Members receive exclusive invitations to VIP meetings such as intimate receptions with current or former heads of state and notable leaders and acquire premier recognition on WAPPP’s website, materials, and publications, including HKS magazine and other resources.

Added Value for Corporate Members

In addition to the above, Corporate Members may designate two representatives to the Women’s Leadership Board, access high-level networking and meetings with other corporate representatives, and receive business specific insights and interventions to close gender gaps in organizations, such as:

  • Strategies for implementing diversity within organizations and ways to reduce the backlash effect, for example, “gender equality nudges” as a hiring strategy;
  • Organizational knowledge on the diversity premium, i.e., understanding the ways in which diverse groups (gender-diverse and otherwise) perform better than homogenous teams;
  • Research designed to help women overcome the negative social outcomes often associated with negotiating for higher compensation;
  • Macroeconomic perspectives about the relationship between a country’s gender gap and its economic performance, which holds particular relevance for market entry strategies; and
  • Data on the business case for gender diversity.