Gender Equity in Leadership
Most people working at Jewish nonprofits are women. But most CEOs of Jewish nonprofits—especially at the largest organizations—are men. We're working to change that.
Our community – and the broader world it influences – needs the talent of all of its members to thrive. Yet the Jewish community’s leadership is not drawn from the full range of its people, denying us the brilliance, vision, and dedication of so many. A more representative set of leaders would be better able to understand and serve the entire Jewish community.
In 2019, Leading Edge launched an ambitious process to uncover the root causes of the gender gap in top leadership at Jewish organizations.
In this exploration, Leading Edge partnered with The Starfish Institute, an organization that has developed a methodology for applying network science to understanding complex social problems at a systemic level.
Together, over the course of 18 months, we engaged over 1,200 people to define as many distinct causes of the persistent gender gap in top leadership at Jewish nonprofit organizations as we could identify. We then mapped how those causes likely interact with one another as an ecosystem. Our process included reviewing relevant literature, conducting in-depth expert interviews, convening half-day workshops and peer-led listening sessions, fielding surveys, a crowd-sourced computer game, uncovering positive deviants (bright spots where things are going well), and more. To understand our research process in detail, see this document for a full explanation of the methodology.
The Five Keystones
Our analysis reveals five keystones to solving the gender gap in top leadership at Jewish nonprofits. “Keystones” are the causes with the most potential to make an outsized impact across the whole system. Each keystone cause implies a keystone opportunity to discuss, test, evaluate, and implement solutions.