Women’s leadership, equality and empowerment, voice in decision making, and educational opportunities for sustainable futures are at the forefront of the international Human Rights discourse today. This research on indigenous women leaders in Malawi took place in a patriarchal society, a land that is replete with fascinatingly rich cultural contrasts, a panorama of natural resources, and enterprising individuals. Of particular interest were the women, who lead difficult and complex lives. Research interest was in creating portraits of a special group of these women whose collective frame-breaking, hope-filled, transformative leadership has served to establish new policies and practices that would ultimately improve the quality of life of women in their country.
Their leadership has initiated change across sectors of society and in the communities where they share responsibility. Against the vibrant backdrop of culture, the study participants, all but one professionals, shared how they came to their leadership positions, worked counter-culturally to challenge and establish conditions to ultimately transform the socio-cultural context for the common good. This qualitative research project is in the data analysis phase, and will culminate in a published work, and a short documentary highlighting the experiences and perspectives of these women leaders in their respective fields of education, law, community, development, government, religious and the financial sector in Malawi.