The FIFA Female Leadership Development Programme was an initiative that identified, supported and developed strong female leaders in football in 2015.
Brief outline of the initiative
This yearly programme was developed for the cycle 2015-2019 in between two World Cups. FIFA organised the programme in partnership with the THNK School of Creative Leadership and, over a nine-month period, including three workshops and extensive fieldwork, the selected participants from across the globe were given the skills they need to help fulfil their leadership potential.
They were paired with a mentor to guide them through the development of an individual project that would translate into tangible benefits for women’s football.
FIFA has launched the Female Leadership Development Programme as part of a number of initiatives to provide more opportunities for women and girls in football. The objective is to increase the number of female leaders and role models in football, and to improve the gender balance in football decision-making. This includes at executive committee level in all governing bodies, which will enhance football governance and improve the game overall.
Once a year (2015/2019)
Funded by FIFA
Around USD 1 million per edition
Country of origin
Country/Region of implementation
From Afghanistan to Rwanda, Aruba to Paraguay, and from Northern Ireland to the Solomon Islands.
Number of participants
35 each year
Core objective of the Programme
☒ Women empowerment (identifying barriers and working on strengths, creating a community)
☐ Supporting organizational change (strategy for developing diversity, implementation of specific policies, support to change makers)
☒ Allies buy-in and support (mentors, men championing)
☐ External Scrutiny (Pledge board, Indicators, celebration of success…)
☐ Other => Please specify:
☐ Internal Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for a safe workplace with equal rights
☐ Commitment of men - please specify: 20% men included in the program
☒ Personal development training
☐ Role model highlighted
☒ Networking (women network, men network or mixed)
☒ Mentoring (unique or mixed gender, please specify): either male or female
☐ Coaching (ability to inspire and grow people/Foster emulation/ Being influential)
☐ Events (sharing with other companies) - please specify:
☐ Other - please specify: 3 in-person modules + project based implementation
☐ Online e-learning Module
☐ Online seminar
☐ Self-Assessment tool
☒ Consolidated educational/training programme
☒ Other, please specify: Fieldwork
Identified Key Success Factors
- A special panel assessing and deciding on the final participants based on a number of criteria such as experience, area of expertise and geographical spread.
- Articulation of 3 elements: development of a Personnal project (named as “Accelerator”) for developing women football + Mentoring + Specialized training on leadership
- A specialized partner in charge of providing a creative and innovative approach to leadership training that is tailor-made to the needs of developing female leaders in football.
- A sustainable support system (Responsibility of the sending associations to ensure further development of the selected women and to support them in the implementation of their personal project)
- The support system
“"The programme absolutely helped with personal growth. It helped me gain more confidence and also to recognise that I have knowledge and experience in the beautiful game that I could use to contribute more at the Board table."”Helen MallonChair of Capital Football - Participant to the programme
Organisation’s strategy to adress Women Empowerment
FIFA’s ten key development principles for women’s football, which were established by the FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football, are guiding the work of FIFA in this area.
For 2015-2018, FIFA doubled its funding for women’s football development projects, which include the successful Live Your Goals campaign, the FIFA scholarship programme for female coaches and many other initiatives.
To further support its member associations in the development of the women’s game at the national level, FIFA has launched a new suite of women’s football development programmes for the 2020-2023 period that focus on key areas of football and structural development with a tailored approach that considers each association’s football landscape and needs. More info on the FIFA Women’s Development Programme.