Feminist Leadership Action Research Project


Participants in the FSSI Leadership Intensives have observed that common assumptions about leadership often have gendered roots which lie in formalised and male dominated practices. These participants felt more alignment with practices that challenged oppression, incorporating reflective leadership practices drawn from ‘adaptive’ and feminist principles and values.  FSSI wants to know more about the nature of such adaptive and feminist leadership practices and how they might build new cultures of leadership into the family violence and other parts of the social service sector. FSV have engaged FSSI to explore this further to provide insights and resources for the Family Violence sector as it grows and adapts.

Project Overview

As part of this project – Action 4.3 of Strengthening the Foundations: First Rolling Action Plan 2019 – 2022 – FSSI will undertake an action research project addressing the questions:

  • How do leaders in the family violence sector and the wider social service sector build organisational cultures of gender equity, respect and non-violence?
  • What can we learn from them about the best ways to support positive cultural change within the family violence and other sectors?
  • What principles, frameworks, policy and practices help build sector capacity for adaptive leadership and cultural change?

As part of this project, FSSI will hold discussions with recognised leaders whose leadership practice reflect adaptive and feminist approach.  These conversations will explore the following areas:

  • Identifying principles and values of their leadership with narrative examples;
  • Distinguishing what can be learned from the organisational settings in which they work; and
  • Assembling advice on how to build adaptive and feminist-driven leadership practice as a wider accepted culture across the social service sector. 

An action research group will address these same questions over time drawing together the interview themes to address the research question and delivering a report that informs policy and practice and narratives that can be shared through a range of media.


Project Team

Micaela Cronin

Alyssa Warland