A leadership revolution: Building the power of Australian women to deliver climate and nature solutions.

Women's Environmental Leadership Australia

Supported beneficiary groups within Women & Girls
Age Demographic
Adults - aged 25 to under 65
Project Focus
Project Area
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

Project Description

International evidence has shown that more women in decision making leads to better environmental outcomes. The impacts of the climate crisis are also felt more acutely by women. Yet the barriers to women’s leadership means that the needs and potential of women are often unheard in existing climate and environmental policy making in Australia. A sustainable, equitable future demands different leadership.

WELA is a community connecting, training and funding generations of women and gender diverse changemakers so that together we can transform Australia’s response to our environmental and climate crises.

Since 2016, 196 women and gender diverse people have participated in WELA’s transformative leadership programs. They’ve gone on to;

  • stop new coal mines
  • end native forest logging in WA
  • win major legal challenges for nature and climate through the courts
  • be elected to state and local government.

Today, demand for WELA’s leadership programs and our community events is at an all-time high. The only factor limiting our support for transformative climate and environmental leadership is our capacity.

For every person who participates in a WELA program, another two miss out. In 2023, only 26 of over 70 applicants were able to be offered places in WELA’s flagship National Leadership Program.

To support a growing wave of women and gender diverse people’s leadership, WELA needs to double its capacity over the next three years.

Expected Outcomes

With increased capacity, WELA will support a growing wave of women and gender diverse people’s leadership for our climate and environment.

WELA’s 3-year plan (2023-2025) :

- Double the number of participants in our transformative leadership programs
- Create an inclusive movement for all and work for First Nations Justice.

- Create cutting edge events and a thriving online community to inspire, connect and support one another.
- Use storytelling to elevate the profile and influence of women leaders, and inspire more women to action.

- Directly fund women-led advocacy for our environment and climate through the new WELA Giving Circle.
- Develop research and education for better policy and investment that centres women-led solutions.

WELA women are already shaping our future. In the last 12 months alone:
- Elle Lawless was appointed as Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT
- Sanaya Khisty, CSO at BZE, curated a showcase of Australian cleantech at COP27
- Melanie Montalban led the successful campaign to include the right to a healthy environment in the ACT Human Rights Act

Increasingly, women who never before thought they wanted to lead are ready to step up. Your support is the key to unlocking their potential – to transform Australia’s response to our environmental and climate crises.

Project Data & Lessons

Over the last few years we’ve tested our model, and laid the foundations for growing engagement and impact. Our strategy is clear and demand for WELA’s support for our more women’s leadership is strong. To meet this demand we need to increase our capacity so that we can support more women leaders in their development and action.

Over 3,000 women and gender diverse people are now active in our online community workspace. We’ve piloted a variety of event and support formats, and continue to trial new approaches to engagement.

Our National Leadership Program evaluations have indicated the significant growth of participants, particularly in regards to their sense of confidence and influence for change. These evaluations will continue to be refined, as we test and learn from new program formats.

We’ve also supported a three-fold increase in representation of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in our program. Facilitating greater engagement of more women and gender diverse people from different backgrounds, sectors and location across the country will remain a priority for WELA and be measured throughout our work.

Project Dates

Project Commences: July 1, 2023
Project Completes: June 30, 2024

Funding Details

Funding Needed
Current Funding
Total Project Costs
Approved Tax Deductability Status
Other Funding Sources
Philanthropy and major donors; individual supporters; program partner organisations; fee paying program participants
Other Support Opportunities
In-kind contributions, Other, Pro bono services, Subsidies

Organisation Details

Women's Environmental Leadership Australia
ABN: 72652617537


Victoria McKenzie-McHarg
Phone: 0428480409

About Women's Environmental Leadership Australia

WELA is an independent not for profit organisation. We’re transforming Australia’s response to our climate and environmental crises by empowering, connecting and influencing women’s leadership for this change.

Leadership in Australia has failed to respond to the environmental crises we face. We will not get out of them by relying on the same leadership that got us into them – outdated leadership that has enabled environmental destruction, inequality and marginalisation of diverse voices. International evidence demonstrates that more women in decision making leads to better environmental outcomes.

By building a connected, collaborative and thriving community of women leading, and through our transformative leadership programs, we’re empowering the next wave of women and gender diverse leaders who’ll shape our future for the better.

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