Successful Women's Coalitions in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia: Feminism, Friendships and Social Change

This paper draws on case studies of two successful women’s coalitions: the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Port Moresby (BPW) in Papua New Guinea, and Joint Action Group on Gender Equality (JAG) in Malaysia.
BPW brings elite women together ‘to work for equal opportunities and status for women in the economic, social and political life in Papua New Guinea’, particularly through sponsoring girls’ education. JAG is a coalition of feminist civil society groups that promotes women’s rights across a broad range of issues and contexts.
By focusing on successful women’s coalitions the study adds to Tadros’ (2011) insights about the factors that help build success, while demonstrating that definitions of ‘success’ differ according to a coalition’s aims and the contexts in which it operates. The findings also support Hodes et al. (2011)’s finding that ‘soft advocacy’ and ‘backstage politics’ can be more effective strategies in some contexts. For instance, in PNG, BPW worked to slowly transform women’s lives in a relatively non-threatening way, while those involved with JAG were more explicitly feminist in their aims and activities.

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


Two exciting job vacancies in the DLP team

Monday 12th November 2018

DLP is looking for a Program Manager and a Communications Manager to help lead a new three-year phase of research on leadership in global development.

Read more

New article on how unfair service provision affects state legitimacy

Thursday 26th July 2018

Claire Mcloughlin's new open-access article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding draws on the case of higher education in Sri Lanka. It explores how unfair service provision can undermine state legitimacy in divided societies.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog