When Women Lead

  • Article type Article
  • Publication date 08 Mar 2021

The Independent Integrity Unit (IIU) celebrates International Women’s Day by highlighting some of the remarkable leaders at GCF. #GenerationEquality

We asked GCF women leaders to share their thoughts: “When women lead, ______________"

When women lead, intuition, empathy, and perseverance are generally present

These three qualities allow us to listen, connect, and learn. They also help us facilitate participation and inclusion, enriching our own views and understanding of the often complex problems that organisations must face nowadays.

Corina Arroyo
Head of Human Resources

When women lead, more balanced and inclusive decisions are made.

The decision-making, especially in high-levels of governments, C-suites of corporations, or even in many international organisations, is still dominated by men, hence by men's perspectives that do not give the full spectrum of challenges and solutions. Only when everyone is around the table, we get the best solutions to problems that we are trying to solve.

Oyun Sanjaasuren
Director of External Affairs

When women lead, they have an opportunity to change and positively shape and influence the image of strong leadership roles…

…from the stereotypical male ones to more holistic ones that embrace feminine traits such as empathy, self-awareness, and humility.

The ability to acknowledge mistakes, learn from experience, take into account other people's perspectives, and willingness to change for the better are not signs of weakness. Women in leadership also bear the responsibility of being role models and paving the way for other aspiring women leaders by helping create space and opportunities, including positively influencing and changing the way institutions work.

And if you, an African woman who grew up in rural Kenya, are among the seven female members who make up 50% of the executive senior management team of an international organisation in South Korea – I am reminded that my organisation and I are an example of what is possible when an international institution is willing to give women of all walks of life a chance to lead. I also have the responsibility to advocate for opportunities for other women so that having women in leadership becomes a norm.

Lilian Macharia
Head of Portfolio Management

When women lead, there is room for other women to step in and provide a different viewpoint and approach.

It's important for other women to see that they belong at the table too.  It's been consistently proven that organizations thrive better when there is diversity throughout the organization – and it needs to be reflected at the top.

Hong Paterson
Chief Financial Officer and Director of Support Services

We also asked, how can we support women leaders?

GCF has to continue its efforts to ensure a work environment where women can grow and prosper, one full of respect, free of condescension and any type of harassment. This requires clear policies and modelling from leadership but also an individual commitment from all the wonderful people of GCF. – Corina

GCF has a very good and progressive gender policy. The best way to support women is through meticulously implementing this policy at all stages of our work. Support to gender policy can be a powerful way of supporting women leaders. – Oyun

Firstly, I believe leaders exist at all levels of an organisation. I have worked with phenomenal women colleagues in lower ranks whose leadership capacity and contribution are amazing. Women tend to hold themselves to higher standards than their male counterparts, and thus are less likely to put themselves out for higher leadership positions. There, therefore, needs to be a deliberate effort at institutional, unit, or managerial levels to encourage and afford women opportunities to grow and realise their leadership potential. This could be through leadership training, coaching, and mentoring for women who demonstrate strong potential at all levels. It could be GCF's distinct offering to its female staff. If this could be combined with a proactive, gender-sensitive strategy to identify and promote qualified women leaders to managerial positions, it would create a strong pipeline of leaders throughout the organisation with strong benefits for the women and the institution. Finally, all leaders in management positions, both women as well as men, could benefit from regular leadership coaching to help them navigate the dynamic work environment. – Lilian

There are plenty of 'easy wins' which I think could create a tangible difference – mentoring programs to support career development, training programs on public speaking to give women confidence to articulate their views, and skills mapping to identify future female leaders.  There is a 'Women of GCF' in development, and I'm looking forward to seeing them become more active within our organization. – Hong

Thoughts from the Women of the IIU

Women leaders can be supported by bringing healthy gender balance at the executive, decision-making, and management of the Fund and by recognizing the achievements of women in the GCF community in the GCF’s mission. Support can also be provided by ensuring that women who carry out GCF action and beneficiaries are in safe spaces; and by taking a clear policy of zero tolerance against sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation. – Lisa Elges, Prevention & Integrity Advisor Consultant

It is thrilling and inspiring to see growing female leadership within the GCF. May the GCF stay ahead of changes and continuously endeavor to create a workplace where female colleagues are empowered to use their voices in decision-making processes and an enabling environment for women to realize their full potential leveling the playing field. – Eunyoung Lee, Integrity and Compliance Analyst

Women can empower women. Each woman’s success is inspiring to all the other women across the world. – Qun Helen Zhang, Junior Investigator

Share these Women’s Month e-Postcards

Send a cheerful message to the leading women in your life today. Download and share these e-postcards to send to your mentors, protégés, and colleagues. Share it via email, chat, or messaging.


Just click on the links below, wait for the image to load, right click and save to download:

Postcard 1: Happy Women's Month!
Postcard 2: You inspire me everyday!
Postcard 3: To my sister, who always has my back.

Happy International Women’s Day from the IIU!

Learn more about Integrity Policy Framework of the Green Climate Fund here.

Image credits:
Portraits by Matt Hebrona/IIU, ina9, Good Studio, and Na-Um via Adobe Stock